President Pahor and Ms Pečar host the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Radev with his spouse on an official visit to Slovenia

Ljubljana, 11. 3. 2019 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr Borut Pahor, and Ms Tanja Pečar, are today hosting the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Rumen Radev, who is on an official visit to the Republic of Slovenia, accompanied by his spouse Desislava. The visit is a continuation of the political dialogue between the two countries at the highest level and confirms the mutual interest in strengthening cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries.

Following an official reception with military honours in Congress Square in Ljubljana, President Radev laid a wreath at the Monument to all Victims of Wars and War-Related Victims. President Pahor and President Radev then had a private meeting, followed by plenary talks between the official delegations of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Bulgaria, led by their respective Presidents.

President Pahor and Ms Pečar host the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Radev with his spouse on an official visit to Slovenia
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

The Bulgarian President thanked the Slovenian President for being able to lay a wreath today at the Monument to all Victims of Wars and War-Related Victims, and commended him for his efforts to achieve reconciliation. He said that Slovenia could serve as an example to Bulgaria, as well as other countries, with its tolerant and thoughtful way of seeking solutions to issues of recent history.

In their talks, the two Presidents praised excellent bilateral cooperation, which is getting stronger every year. President Pahor thanked President Radev for his hospitality on his official visit to Bulgaria in March last year. Mr Pahor emphasised that political, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries was "very lively". Slovenia considers Bulgaria a strategic partner and the countries have excellent bilateral relations that are not burdened by anything, he said.

The two Presidents exchanged views on the future of the EU and agreed that the EU needs to be strengthened in order to be able to ensure security that will offer protection to our shared values and our European and national identities. As regards the upcoming elections to the European Parliament, President Pahor expressed the hope that the future European Parliament could form a strong and pro-European coalition that is ready to face future challenges. President Pahor reiterated his belief that these will be the most important elections to the European Parliament since 1979, when they were held for the first time.

The two Presidents agreed that economic cooperation is an important part of the relations between the two countries. In recent years, bilateral trade has increased considerably, but Mr Pahor and Mr Radev agreed that there are still untapped opportunities for improvement. The Bulgarian President is accompanied in Slovenia by a business delegation, which should have been larger, as indicated by a great amount of interest in doing business with Slovenia. This clearly demonstrates a great interest in strengthening economic cooperation. The two Presidents agreed that a new opportunity for a visit from Mr Radev and the Bulgarian business delegation to Slovenia will present itself soon enough, i.e. in early June, when a business forum will be held on the sidelines of the Three Seas Initiative Summit.

Mr Pahor and Mr Radev also discussed the importance of the Three Seas Initiative. President Pahor, as the host of this year's Summit in Ljubljana, presented preparations for this event and its most important substantive and organisational aspects, and thanked President Radev for confirming his participation at the Summit to be held from 5 to 6 June 2019.

Regarding the situation in the neighbouring region of the Western Balkans, the pair assessed that there is definitely a need for active participation and assistance in establishing the conditions for the progress of the Western Balkan countries. President Pahor said that Slovenia appreciates Bulgaria's contribution to EU expansion and to the European perspective of the Western Balkans, which was one of the most important priorities of the Bulgarian EU Council Presidency. Mr Pahor presented to his Bulgarian counterpart preparations for the next Brdo-Brijuni Process Summit scheduled in Tirana, Albania, for May. Although Bulgaria is not part of this initiative, it does have its own, influential, positions about developments in this part of Europe, Pahor said.

The two Presidents also exchanged views on some other current international issues.

In the afternoon, Mr Pahor and Mr Radev attended the opening of the Slovenian–Bulgarian business forum at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, where they addressed the participants.

The visit will close with a gala dinner at the Presidential Palace, hosted by President Pahor in honour of the Bulgarian President.

President Pahor and Ms Pečar host the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Radev with his spouse on an official visit to Slovenia
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

President Pahor and Ms Pečar host the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Radev with his spouse on an official visit to Slovenia
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA