The Slovenia Times

EU Future Headlines Cameron-Cerar Talks


The first visit by a British prime minister to Slovenia since it gained independence in 1991 was dominated by EU topics.

In a statement at the outset of their talks, Cerar said that Slovenia was ready to listen to Britain's ideas for the future of the EU.

"Undoubtedly [Cameron] has a vision...and we intend to listen today and consider thoroughly these proposals in the coming months," said Cerar ahead of a working dinner by the two leaders.

Stressing that Slovenia "wants a successful EU that is connected in vital areas..but most of all, a union featuring Great Britain", the Slovenian prime minister said it saw Britain as an important member of the bloc.

Cameron said the plans he was outlining in EU capitals ahead of next week's EU summit were "vital not just for Britain but can bring benefit for everyone in the EU".

The stop in Slovenia comes amidst Cameron's ongoing tour of EU capitals dedicated to outlining proposals for reform of the bloc ahead of an in/out referendum Britain plans to hold by the end of 2017.

The details of the proposals have not been made public to date, but it is understood that they are aimed at creating wiggle room for member states not interested in an "ever closer union".

Britain, which already enjoys a series of opt-outs, is said to be looking to secure more flexibility in limiting internal migration, a greater say of national parliaments on EU legislation and protection for the City of London from new EU financial rules.

Cameron is expected to outline the plans at the EU summit in Brussels next Thursday, as he seeks to win concessions to take to the British public ahead of the referendum.

However, reports from major EU capitals ahead of the summit suggest there is a growing sentiment against change of the Lisbon Treaty governing relations among EU member states.

The sentiment was echoed by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz ahead of his talks with Cameron in London today. Schulz was quoted by The Guardian as saying that the prevailing view among EU leaders was that the treaty would not be reopened.

The referendum will open the possibility for "Brexit" - Britain leaving the union - a scenario that is not favoured in governments on either side of the Channel.

Cerar highlighted today that Slovenia "was counting on being able to continue to build the union together with [Britain] for the good of the people of Europe".

He suggested that following review of the British proposals, the emphasis would be on seeking "solutions benefiting everyone".

A press statement issued by the Slovenian government meanwhile said that Cerar "endorsed the British approach to shaping an EU of the future through open and constructive talks with each and every member state".

Hailing the first visit by a British prime minister to Slovenia, Cerar was quoted by the Government Communication Office as saying that he "appreciated [Cameron] had decided to also visit smaller members who are no less important in the EU, unlike some other leaders".

Slovenian officials have in recent weeks complained about being excluded from being kept out of the loop on talks to resolve the Greek debt crisis.

Cerar in particular fumed about Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras ignoring smaller members in efforts to renegotiate the terms of Greece's international bailout on the margins of an EU summit in Latvia's Riga a month ago.

Cameron meanwhile thanked Cerar today for a warm reception at Brdo Castle, where the leaders were due to dine on pasta with scallops, sea bass with morel rissoto and raspberry panna cotta.

This was the second meeting of the two leaders in less than a month, as they had already met in Riga for talks on British proposals.

Praising Cameron's proposals, Cerar said at the time: "A part of the public and his own political party is pushing for a referendum and tougher rules on EU migrations, but he personally has a broader outlook and understands that the EU is important for Great Britain."


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