The Slovenia Times

President Pahor to Pay Two-Day Visit to France


Pahor's visit is intended to "strengthen the top level political dialogue" and enhance the strategic partnership the two countries launched in March 2011 when Pahor visited France as prime minister, the president's office said in a press release.

The purpose of the visit, at which Pahor will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Culture Minister Uroš Grilc, will therefore be to advance political and economic relations and other forms of cooperation between the countries.

Since privatisation is one of the main priorities of the new government, the visit will be an occasion to examine the opportunities for French investments into Slovenian companies.

French Ambassador to Slovenia Pierre-Francois Mourier has told the STA in a recent interview that potential sectors of interest to French companies are energy, retail, automotive industry and insurance.

Pahor will also exchange views with French officials on topical European issues, including on the planned strengthening of the economic and monetary union and the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans.

In this context, Pahor will present to Hollande his idea to revive the regional Brdo Process cooperation (named after the Slovenian town Brdo pri Kranju) which would from now on host meetings of presidents.

Also on the agenda will be international topics such as North Korea, Syria and Mali.

The visit comes amid speculation on whether Slovenia would be the next eurozone member to ask for a bailout, so the financial and economic issues will probably also be high on agenda.

Prior to PM Alenka Bratušek's visit to Brussels a week ago, Pahor said it was crucial for the government to draw up a clear plan of its activities before his trip to Paris so that the main European leaders and institutions could be reassured about Slovenia's situation.

He also said he saw Bratušek's visit to Brussels and his trip to Paris as an opportunity to silence the speculation on Slovenia's possible aid request.

The president will first make a stop at the lower chamber of the French parliament, the National Assembly, where he will be received by chair of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Elisabeth Guigou.

Pahor's address to the committee will be followed by a closed-door discussion with the MPs.

Also on Wednesday Pahor will visit the Foreign Ministry to meet Minister of European Affairs Thierry Repentin.

In the afternoon, the meeting with Hollande will take place at the Elysee Palace in what will be the first meeting of the two presidents. Pahor is expected to invite the French president to visit Slovenia.

In the evening, the president will open an exhibition entitled "Slovenian Impressionists and Their Time 1890-1920" at the Petit Palais museum, in what is the first major Slovenian exhibition in France since the 1995 show of modernist painter Zoran Mušič (1909-2005).

Ahead of the opening, Culture Minister Grilc will meet French Minister of Culture and Communication Aurelie Filippetti.

The second day of the visit will be dedicated to economic topics. After attending a business breakfast organised by the biggest association of French employers MEDEF, Pahor will take part in the presentation of an eco-house P.A.T.H. - a cooperation between French designer and architect Philippe Starck and Slovenian civil engineering company Riko.

On Thursday afternoon, the Slovenian president will wrap up the visit by meeting National Assembly President Claude Bartolone.

Pahor paid his last official visit to France in March 2011 in the capacity of prime minister when he signed a bilateral agreement on strategic partnership between the countries with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Pahor also plans to visit Germany to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel soon.


More from Nekategorizirano