President Pahor and Bavarian Minister-President Seehofer in favour of thoroughly deepened relations between Slovenia and Bavaria

Ljubljana, 22. 6. 2017 | press release, statement


The Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, is on an official visit to the Republic of Slovenia today on the invitation of Slovenian President Borut Pahor. The purpose of the visit is to strengthen friendly relations and political dialogue between the Republic of Slovenia and the German State of Bavaria. The main focus was on economic cooperation, the issues of regional integration and cooperation in the area of education. Slovenia has had well-developed bilateral relations with Bavaria for more than 40 years, and Bavaria is one of the most important trading partners among German federal states, with trade amounting to around EUR 2.0 billion on an annual basis.

Slovenian president Borut Pahor welcomes the arrival of Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

President Pahor awaited Minister-President Seehofer in front of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts from where they set off in the “Kavalir”, a vehicle with an electric engine that provides a free passenger urban transport service and is friendly to both humans and the environment. With this gesture President Pahor wanted to present Ljubljana to his guests as a green and environmentally friendly capital in step with the times.

Slovenian president Borut Pahor and Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer set off for the Presidential Palace by “Kavalir”, an electric car
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

In the Presidential Palace, President Pahor and Minister-President Seehofer first held a private meeting, which was followed by discussions, led by both presidents, between their respective delegations. The talks mainly focused on the bilateral relations within the context of the EU and economic cooperation between Slovenia and Bavaria. President Pahor and Minister-President Seehofer also discussed the future of the European Union, security in Europe and the fight against terrorism. The two leaders also exchanged views regarding the migrant crisis and the new dynamics in transatlantic relations in the aftermath of the US elections.

President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, shakes hands with Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Discussions between the delegations, led by both presidents, President of Slovenia Borut Pahor and Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Talks between the delegations were followed by a press conference at which Slovenian President Pahor said that today's visit clearly demonstrated the comprehensive continuation of a solid strategic partnership between Slovenia and Bavaria. The two countries have a great many common interests and friendly relations. And a friendship also needs to be nurtured even when we are not faced with major problems or great celebration. President Pahor stressed that not only are economic interests at stake but also political relations. The cooperation is excellent in several areas, namely in politics, the economy, culture, education and health care. He singled out excellent economic relations and cooperation in the area of internal affairs and justice. There are significant similarities between Slovenia and Bavaria with regard to the mindset of the people, and geographical features such as diet, habits and views, also of international issues. President Pahor added that the two countries have a historically close relationship. We are pleased, therefore, that future cooperation will intensify at the highest political level and that new joint projects will be initiated. President Pahor also said that when talking about future joint projects we would like to renew the initiative for a more comprehensive presentation of Bavaria in Slovenia and of Slovenia in Bavaria. It would be reasonable to re-introduce the so called “Bavarian week” and to prepare a “Slovenian week” in Munich. President Pahor said in conclusion that we are linked through the past and are somehow inspired for the future.

The fact that Slovenia exports more to Bavaria than Bavarian companies export to Slovenia might be, as Minister-President Seehofer jokingly said, a bit painful as they are accustomed to being the first and the best. He committed himself to strengthened cooperation and, in particular, to the exchange of experience and ideas in a time of rapid technological change. While Bavaria is leading the way in some sectors, this is, in his opinion, not the case in the digital economy, due to which their companies might learn a lot from Slovenian companies.

Bilateral economic relations between Slovenia and Bavaria are very good. A total of EUR 1.89 billion in trade was generated with Bavaria in 2016 (an 8% increase), making it the third most important in terms of volume of trade among German states. Future trade growth will be based on the vicinity, developed infrastructure, positive macro-economic indicators and numerous business and investment opportunities on both sides. Furthermore, bilateral economic cooperation may further strengthen in traditional sectors such as the automotive industry and logistics, as well as in the areas of high technologies, e-mobility, ICT, renewable energy sources, construction, biotechnology, tourism, innovation, the food sector and the wood industry. Increased cooperation of the Port of Koper with Bavarian companies is also in our best interests. One of the key projects in Slovenia presented to the Bavarian side was the construction of a second track on the Divača–Koper railway line that will contribute to the removal of bottlenecks in the core network and provide adequate logistical connections.

Slovenia is developing a series of measures and activities to promote digital transformation in the economy. It is also an area where we are interested in strengthening cooperation and exchanging experience. German or Bavarian companies are important investment partners in Slovenia.

This was followed by a lunch hosted by President of Slovenia Borut Pahor in honour of Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer.

At the end of the visit, Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer and the president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended a round table discussion.

At the conclusion of the visit, Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer and President of Slovenia Borut Pahor attended a round table discussion organised by the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia and entitled Economy 4.0 and Digital Technology in Slovenia and Bavaria. It involved the representatives of the chambers and some companies that presented some new views and ideas for the strengthening of economic, business and investment cooperation between Slovenia and Bavaria. Those present were also addressed by both presidents.

Slovenian president Borut Pahor and Minister-President of the Free State of Bavaria Horst Seehofer at a round-table discussion on Economy 4.0 and Digital Technology in Slovenia and Bavaria
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA