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At the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Riga, President Pahor called on the EU Presidents present to urge their countries to support the initiative for Bosnia and Herzegovina to obtain candidate status. Polish President Duda also explicitly supported the initiative at the formal press conference after the session.

Riga, Latvia, 20. 6. 2022 | press release

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Latvia, Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor attends the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Riga.

Today, President Pahor attended the official opening of the Three Seas Initiative Summit and took part in a presidential panel.

In the debate, President Pahor said that the initiative was well on the way to achieving its strategic objective – better links between the North and the South of the Eastern part of the European Union. He also stressed that we should also improve interconnectivity with the EU's west and its eastern and south-eastern neighbourhood, he added. He welcomed the work of the Three Seas Fund and advocated environment-friendly infrastructure projects.

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Latvia, Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor attends the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Riga.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The war in Ukraine and ways of cooperating with that country were a major focus of attention this year. The leaders present were addressed by President Zelensky of Ukraine via a virtual link. The Presidents of the participating countries devoted some attention to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries and the position of the region in the contemporary European political and security architecture.

President Pahor reiterated the importance of the early enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkan countries. At the presidential panel, he elaborated on the content of the letter he sent to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, on Friday, in which he advocated that Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted the status of candidate for membership of the European Union without conditions. The President proposed that this decision be taken by the European Council, which will meet this week. President Pahor is convinced that candidate status would strengthen pro-European forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and accelerate the dynamics of internal alignment with European norms. Some heads of state have explicitly supported the proposal, but none has openly opposed it, raising hopes that the necessary consensus for its adoption could emerge by the end of the week.

At the official press conference after the leaders' meeting, Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke about President Pahor's proposal and gave it his explicit support.

At the end of the plenary session, the Presidents adopted a joint declaration which included, among other things, the decision to invite Ukraine to become a partner of the Three Seas Initiative.

President Pahor held several short meetings on the margins of his participation in the Three Seas Initiative Summit. Bilaterally, the President of the Republic met for the first time with the new President of the Republic of Hungary, Katalin Novák. At the outset, the Slovenian President congratulated President Novák on her election victory and wished her every success in her future endeavours. In their conversation, the two Presidents reaffirmed their friendly relations, and President Pahor stressed that he was confident that Slovenia and Hungary would continue their regular and constructive dialogue. In the light of good neighbourly relations, President Pahor invited President Novák to visit Slovenia, which she gladly accepted and confirmed that she would come next month.

The Three Seas Initiative is a forum of 12 EU Member States geographically located in Central and Eastern Europe between the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas – Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The permanent partners of the initiative are the US, Germany and the European Commission.

The initiative, which was first launched on the margins of the United Nations in New York in September 2015, has so far held meetings at the level of heads of state in Dubrovnik in August 2016, in Warsaw in July 2017, in Bucharest in September 2018, in Ljubljana and Brdo pri Kranju in June 2019, virtually in Tallinn in October 2020 and in Sofia in July 2021. President Pahor attended all of these meetings.

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Latvia, Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor attends the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Riga.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA