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President Pahor and Irish President Higgins on the EU’s future and Brexit

Athens, 10. 10. 2019 | press release

Today and tomorrow, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is visiting Athens, where he will meet with the presidents of 12 other EU Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Poland and Portugal.

Today, President Pahor met with Irish President Michael D. Higgins. The two statesmen mainly discussed the future of the European Union and current world events. The Irish President agreed with Mr Pahor’s view that the European Union was at a crossroads and that its future required serious thought. He said that he believed in the so-called eco-social political economy, as he believed it would strengthen the European Union.

In their talks, the two presidents devoted particular attention to Brexit. President Higgins started by noting that the Irish Prime Minister was to meet with British Prime Minister Johnson that very day and that, of course, everyone was watching to see how the situation would unfold at the end of the month. President Pahor reiterated that Slovenia only supported an agreement that would be acceptable to Ireland or a legally viable solution that would avoid a hard Irish border, protect the all-island economy and preserve the integrity of the single market. In this respect, Slovenia fully supports the approach taken by the European Commission and Chief Negotiator Barnier, Mr Pahor added.

President Pahor expressed solidarity with Ireland and support for soft Brexit efforts as being in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union.

According to both presidents, bilateral relations between the two countries were friendly and there were no unresolved issues. They called for the ties between Slovenia and Ireland to continue to strengthen in all areas, and President Pahor invited his Irish counterpart to visit Slovenia.

In terms of foreign trade, Ireland is Slovenia’s 39th largest foreign trading partner. Trade volumes with Ireland represent 0.3% of Slovenia’s total international trade, the trend being positive in 2019. In six months of 2019, trade volumes amounted to EUR 97.5 million (up 35%). Exports and imports totalled EUR 22.8 million (up 3%) and EUR 74.6 million (up 49%) respectively.

In the afternoon, President Pahor will appear at the Athens Democracy Forum, organised in Athens every year by The New York Times under the patronage of Greece’s President Pavlopoulos. The forum is dedicated to discussions on the state of democracy in the world and the search for answers to questions related to the development of democracy and democratic decision-making. It is attended by political leaders, experts, businesspeople and journalists.

The aim of this year’s (7th) Athens Forum is to look for alternative forms of governance. The topic is "Reinventing Democracy – New Models for Our Changing World". President Pahor will take part in the forum’s "Conversation with the President" segment with renowned New York Times journalist Steven Erlanger.

President Pahor and Irish President Higgins on the EU’s future and Brexit
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA