PM Bratušek in Audience With Pope Francis

The prime minister told the Pope that she was looking forward also to multilateral cooperation and expressed the wish for cooperation in the framework of various multilateral forums. She invited him to visit Slovenia.

The Holy See was quoted as saying by the Italian press agency Ansa that the talks with the Slovenian prime minister were cordial.

The talks also touched on the challenges Slovenia faces "in the time of crisis and on the help the Catholic community and state institutions can provide in welfare support to the population and education," Ansa quoted the Holy See.

The Prime Minister's Office labelled the visit at the Holy See as the continuation of dialogue and an opportunity for further development of ties. Slovenia strives for good relations with the Vatican.

As part of her trip to Italy, Bratušek yesterday debated bilateral relations and the economic and financial crisis with PM Enrico Letta and President Giorgio Napolitano.

Letta said the meeting was a step forward in Slovenia and Italy's tight cooperation within the EU. He also said Italy was very much interested in the planned privatisation of Slovenian companies.

For the first time ever, a Slovenian and Italian prime ministers held a joint meeting with representatives of the Slovenian minority in Italy and of the Italian minority in Slovenia. The meeting was hailed by the ethnic communities as a historic event.