Logar, Linde talk EU presidency, Ukraine and Russia

Photo: STA

Ljubljana – Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Swedish counterpart Ann Linde discussed cooperation between Slovenia and Sweden in light of the coming Slovenian EU presidency and current Swedish OSCE chairmanship, relations with Russia and the Ukraine situation as Linde visited Slovenia on Monday.

Slovenia will hold the EU presidency in the second half of 2021, whereas Sweden chairs the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) this year.

Logar presented to Linde the priorities of the Slovenian EU presidency, he told a joint press conference after the meeting. “Our efforts will be targeted towards strengthening the EU’s resilience,” he said.

The pandemic has taught us that crisis response should be swifter and more efficient including in health, climate change and cyber attacks. “I’m pleased that Sweden is interested in deepening cooperation in terms of cyber security,” Logar said.

The pair also discussed the Western Balkans, he said, noting they had agreed that European enlargement was important for the stability of the region and the entire EU.

Another key topic on the agenda of the Slovenian EU presidency will be the rule of law, he said, noting that Slovenia’s target in this area would be to ensure unbiased, objective and transparent dialogue that would benefit citizens.

Linde expressed support for Slovenia in these efforts. “Full respect for the rule of law is a fundamental issue for the EU. Various mechanisms to strengthen the rule of law have been therefore set up. We strongly support Slovenia’s target of continuing work during the presidency,” she said.

Slovenia can also count on Sweden’s support when it comes to efforts promoting gender equality, which has further deteriorated during the pandemic, she said.

Meanwhile, Logar voiced support for Sweden’s OSCE chairmanship. The pair also discussed the situations in Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine.

Linde said that she had recently talked about the Ukraine situation with her Ukrainian and Russian counterparts, Dmytro Kuleba and Sergey Lavrov, and visited the eastern part of Ukraine. Kuleba hosted Logar in Kiev in mid-March to discuss Slovenia’s EU presidency priorities and relations with Russia.

The Swedish minister welcomed the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border region.

Broaching relations with Russia, both Logar and Linde said that the EU should be united in its view on the matter. Touching upon the developments regarding Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Linde said that the EU had maintained that the Navalny trial was politically motivated, pointing to sanctions against Russia.

Logar and Linde also talked today about economic cooperation between Slovenia and Sweden. The latter remains Slovenia’s main trade partner among Nordic countries, Logar said. The ministers called for further strengthening bilateral economic ties.

Linde also met Slovenian President Borut Pahor.