The Slovenia Times

Merkel Tells Cerar Slovenia Can Count on Germany in Consolidation Efforts



The chancellor wished Cerar, who picked Merkel for his first official meeting with a head of government, a lot of strength in the implementation of the planned reforms and added that he and his team can count on the support of the German government in the process.

Merkel pointed out for the press that the Slovenian government is also facing an ambitions privatisation agenda, which is continuing and in which Germany companies are also interested.

Cerar and Finance Minister Dušan Mramor, who also came along to Berlin to meet his counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble, said after their meetings that concrete privatisation cases were not discussed.

As regards the crisis in the eurozone, she assessed that the Slovenian PM and she share the view that while solid budgets are important, an effort is simultaneously needed to generate growth.

The right investments, less red tape and good projects that secure a future for Europe are of key importance here, Merkel noted.

Cerar meanwhile hailed the excellent cooperation with Germany, Slovenia's leading trade partner. He added opportunities for additional cooperation were sought today and singled out green technology as a promising field.

Slovenia is very interested in cooperation infrastructure projects, especially those related to transport, Cerar told the Slovenian press after meeting Merkel.

Two such projects were discussed today; the setting up of a rail link between Munich and Istanbul by expanding the Karavanke tunnel linking Slovenia and Austria and linking Koper port with central Europe by building a second track leading to Ljubljana.

In his talks with Merkel, Cerar highlighted as the main task of his government the securing of political stability in Slovenia along with a predictable and stable economic environment.

The government's main challenges are boosting growth, which indicators show is already picking up, and parallel to that financial consolidation, which will entail a budget deficit of under 3% of GDP in 2015.

Cerar highlighted his intent to open up Slovenia further to foreign investors, do away with administrative obstacles and work together with Germany and other European countries to encourage infrastructural and other projects important for Slovenia, Germany and the Western Balkans.

He said Slovenia would welcome Germany's support in investments in various areas, one example being the construction of the second track from the Koper port, which would allow goods to be transported to the heart of Europe via the shortest and most rational route.

The Western Balkans was also discussed. Merkel said the region was facing a number of challenges and that Slovenia and Germany can contribute in close cooperation.

The prime minister said after the meeting that he told Merkel that Slovenia would like to play the role of "Germany's and Austria's partner" in the Western Balkans.


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