Vienna – Foreign Minister Anže Logar was on a working visit to Austria to meet his counterpart Alexander Schallenberg. The pair assessed the countries’ relations in the past year as positive and noted the importance of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite in presence of both presidents. He also met Slovenian minority representatives.
“A year of intensive dialogue is behind us,” the Slovenian minister said on Twitter after Friday’s meeting. He expects that such dialogue will continue also during Slovenia’s EU presidency in the second half of the year.
Logar and Schallenberg focused on bilateral cooperation in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. They agreed that in addition to vaccination, testing of residents is a key measure against the spreading of infections, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry said.
Logar said he expected that Austria would enable daily migrant workers from Slovenia to cross the border as easily as possible. Currently they need to register themselves once a week and produce a negative PCR or antigen test not older than seven days.
They also exchanged views on the topics that will be on the agenda of the EU foreign ministerial at the beginning of next week and talked about the importance of regional cooperation.
“Close regional cooperation is key for tackling joint challenges in the EU, such as the pandemic, cyber attacks and economic recovery,” Logar said on Twitter.
He noted the importance of the Central 5 (C5) group of the foreign ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia in discussing these issues. The next meeting of the informal initiative will take place in Slovenia.
As for the Slovenian minority in Austria, Logar told Schallenberg that its representatives were happy with the increase in funding and pointed to the importance of legislative changes for the protection of the Slovenian minority.
The Slovenian ministers also met Slovenian minority representatives as part of the visit to talk about topical issues, in particular last year’s ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite.
The ministry said that they had agreed that it had been held in the spirit that sought to overcome historical divisions and promotion of coexistence and understanding between the Slovenian- and German-speaking communities in Carinthia.
Logar reiterated the support of the Slovenian government for the minority’s efforts for improvements in bilingual education, public use of the Slovenian language and providing adequate support for the minority media, it added.