The Slovenia Times

Pahor Reports on Slovenia's Progress in Brussels


Pahor said it was no coincidence he made Brussels the destination of his first official visit as president. The purpose of the visit was to notify the president of the European Council as well as other officials in Brussels that "things were turning for the better" regarding Slovenia's reform capacity.

"We cannot say for sure that all the obstacles have been removed, but there is increasing readiness that this will happen in the coming months," Pahor said after talks with Van Rompuy.

As an example he mentioned the ongoing talks to build sufficient two-thirds majority in parliament to change the Constitution by introducing restrictions to referendum rules.

Referendum has often been used in Slovenia as a means of blocking reforms. Pahor's government lost a confidence vote after its proposal for pension reform was defeated in a referendum a year and a half ago.

Pahor's message to the heads of EU institutions is that he understands his election to the office of president in December as support for reforms and in particular as support for the efforts to establish cooperation between the government and opposition.

"I will do all in my power for this cooperation to be as genuine and successful as possible. The litmus test of the true political readiness for potential broader talks on a more formal agreement between the government and opposition will be the adoption of the constitutional changes concerning referendum," Pahor said.

He said it was "unacceptable to keep shifting the difficult decision of whether to allow a referendum or not on the Constitutional Court... I believe it is right for the burden of responsibility to be assumed by the legislator, that is the national Assembly".

Pahor and Rompuy also discussed the efforts to tackle the euro crisis and the global economic and social crisis, as well as the future of the EU and its further enlargement with Pahor calling for a comprehensive reflection on the future of the EU.

The Slovenian president also underscored sensitivity to justness and the rule of law.

"As we started tackling the crisis, myself still as prime minister, we all by and large believed it would be a brief, cyclic financial crisis. But it turned out to be a deep economic crisis, eventually also a moral one.

"The rule of law is important in such circumstances. We both agreed the question of fairness and the rule of law to be a major one regarding the credibility of institutions, both Slovenian and European, in the eyes of citizens," Pahor said.

He reiterated his commitment to the idea of the EU and ideas about a deepened political cooperation as conditions for peace, security and stability of the old continent.

Rompuy tweeted that he received Pahor as the first statesman this year. His office issued a press release saying he and Pahor discussed the situation in the euro area and the road map for the achievement of a genuine Economic and Monetary Union and the future Multiannual Financial Framework for the EU.

The release said the meeting also discussed "the importance of pursuing efficient and fair reforms to tackle the macroeconomic and financial developments that hit Slovenia in recent years and to return as quickly as possible to the creation of growth and new jobs."

Pahor will also meet today the leader of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament Hannes Swoboda and European Parliament President Martin Schulz.

He will be received by President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and meet the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday. He will also have lunch with Slovenian MEPs.


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