Presidents Borut Pahor and Prokopios Pavlopoulos in favour of a more integrated Europe

Athens, 4. 12. 2018 | press release

At the invitation of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopios Pavlopoulos, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is paying an official visit to the Hellenic Republic today and tomorrow.

After being received with military honours at the Presidential Palace and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Hellenic Parliament, the two Presidents had a brief one-to-one meeting, followed by plenary talks between the delegations of the Republic of Slovenia and the Hellenic Republic, led by the two Presidents.

Presidents Borut Pahor and Prokopios Pavlopoulos in favour of a more integrated Europe
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The two Presidents confirmed that Slovenian-Greek relations were good, friendly, and without any unresolved issues, and assessed that the official visit of the Slovenian President will undoubtedly strengthen the political and other relations between the two countries. They shared the view that there were plenty of opportunities to improve economic relations, trade and investment, as well as cooperation in culture and science. Their discussion focused on the topical challenges in the international community, in particular concerning the European Union and its future. They agreed that it was time for those who believe in the EU to stand together and make an effort for its further development. In this context, they underlined the importance of respect for international law.

Touching on the current developments in the Western Balkans, the pair agreed that the EU must strengthen its role and presence in the region. The two countries encourage regional cooperation through various initiatives – e.g. Slovenia's initiatives in the Brdo-Brijuni Process, the positive agenda for young people, and the Counter-Terrorism Initiative – and thus contribute to the stability and improved situation in the region. President Pahor, as the co-chair of the Brdo–Brijuni Process, invited President Pavlopoulos to attend a future meeting as a guest.

President Pahor also congratulated Greece on the numerous economic and financial reforms it implemented after the global economic crisis, and encouraged it to strive for the implementation of the reforms and agreed budgetary targets also in the post-programme period. President Pahor noted that during the global economic crisis Slovenia had expressed solidarity by joining all three financial aid packages for Greece while facing a crisis itself.

The discussion also touched upon the migration crisis and some other current international issues. President Pahor expressed his satisfaction that cultural cooperation with Greece had intensified in recent times as well as his belief that the meeting of the countries' ministries of culture would contribute to further strengthening such cooperation.

As part of his official visit, President Pahor met with the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic, Alexis Tsipras. Good and friendly cooperation between the two countries was also highlighted in the talks between the Greek Prime Minister and the President of the Slovenia. President Pahor recalled the times when, at the very beginning of his term of office, Slovenia had expressed financial solidarity with Greece in connection with all three financial aid packages. Slovenia's President also noted their good cooperation as regards the refugee crisis, with the successful relocation of migrants, cooperation in Frontex, and bilateral humanitarian assistance. He said that in such a manner we demonstrated a pro-European stance and that we understood the need to share burdens between partner countries.

President Pahor, moreover, congratulated the Greek Prime Minister for reaching an agreement with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. He assessed that it was very promising and added that he himself knew how difficult it was to decide on a compromise and then to finalise it. "Greece and Slovenia are committed to the rule of law and the Prespes Agreement can be a great inspiration for those who believe that the only way to resolve all conflicts is by peaceful means," the President concluded.

Following a meeting at the seat of the Greek government, President Pahor also visited the Hellenic Parliament, where he met with Speaker of the Parliament Nikos Voutsis, who awarded him the Medal of the Hellenic Parliament. In the afternoon, President Pahor had a meeting with the leader of the opposition, the centre-right party New Democracy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

During the official visit, Greek President Pavlopoulos hosted a dinner at the Presidential Mansion in honour of the visiting Slovenian President Borut Pahor.

Tomorrow, President Pahor will be visiting Nafplion in the Peloponnese peninsula to unveil a memorial plaque to Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first governor of modern Greece, whose ancestors come from the Slovenian city of Koper. Ioannis Kapodistrias symbolises the relationship between Slovenia and Greece. The unveiling of the plaque by the Slovenian President was confirmation of the friendship between the two countries and support for European integration. As a sign of friendship, Greece presented Slovenia with a statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias in 2001. The statue stands in Koper, where a street and square are named after him.

Presidents Borut Pahor and Prokopios Pavlopoulos in favour of a more integrated Europe
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA