The Slovenia Times

FM says Slovenia should close borders if Austria does so


He also discussed Slovenia's pavilion at the Milan Expo and other international topics, including the recognition of Palestine.

While stressing that the border closure was his personal opinion, and not the official position of the state, Erjavec said he could not imagine Slovenia having 150,000 refugees on its territory, like Serbia for instance.

"I think that there is no other solution. If Austria stiffens controls on the border, Hungary will close its borders, and then Slovenia needs to do the same as Austria," the minister told the committee.

However, the current situation does not suggest that Germany could close its borders due to the influx of refugees, which would prompt Austria to take a similar measure, according to Erjavec.

Several MPs were also interested in what Slovenia intended to do with its pavilion at the Milan Expo once the exhibition closed.

Erjavec agreed with Jožef Horvat of the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) and unaffiliated MP Alenka Bratušek that the building should continue to be used.

"The right content should be provided so that the building continues to live," said the minister, while Horvat proposed that it be disassembled and then set up in the NE region of Pomurje as an educational centre.

Erjavec said he was happy that Slovenia had decided to present itself in Milan. While the pavilion cost EUR 5m, the effect has been immense, as the pavilion has been visited by around million people, he added.

The minister believes that Slovenia should also participate at the 2017 Expo in Astana, as Slovenia has defined Central Asia as one of the priorities in its latest foreign policy strategy, and in the 2020 Expo in Dubai.

Asked by Matej Tašner Vatovec of the opposition United Left (ZL) about Slovenia's stance of Kosovo's membership of the UNESCO, Erjavec said that the country supported it.

The minister does not understand Serbia's opposition to this membership, as the issue of cultural heritage is one of the main issues in Kosovo.

Regarding the recognition of Palestine, Erjavec mentioned an agreement that the Foreign Affairs Committee visit its counterparts from the Israeli parliament and "then we will see at what pace we will continue regarding the recognition".

He added that there were no disagreements within the government regarding the issue and that it was about picking the right moment, when the recognition would deliver a strong message.


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