President Pahor uses exhaustive and thorough discussions with President Đukanović for a forensic analysis of conditions in the Western Balkans in individual countries and the region as a whole

Montenegro, 30. 5. 2019 | press release

At the invitation of the President of Montenegro, Milo Đukanović, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is on an official visit to Montenegro. This is the first official visit of the Slovenian President after Montenegro’s accession to NATO and denotes a symbolic confirmation of Slovenia’s support for this country joining the Euro-Atlantic integration. The visit affirms several years of good relations between the countries.

The official reception with military honours at the Villa Gorica ceremonial platform was followed by a lengthy private discussion between the President of the Republic of Slovenia and the President of Montenegro. The visit continued with plenary discussions between the delegations of the Republic of Slovenia and Montenegro led by both presidents.

President Pahor uses exhaustive and thorough discussions with President Đukanović for a forensic analysis of conditions in the Western Balkans in individual countries and the region as a whole
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

President Pahor initially stated that he was pleased to be paying his first official visit to Podgorica as the President of the Republic of Slovenia and emphasised that relations between the countries were excellent with no open issues.

During the discussions, both presidents confirmed that bilateral cooperation was very intensive in all fields. Ongoing dialogue takes place between the countries at political and expert levels, and mutual trust is also established.

President Pahor noted that Slovenia was the first country to open a diplomatic mission in Montenegro in 2006, and Slovenian companies were among the first to invest in Montenegro. The economic cooperation between the countries is a major field of cooperation. President Pahor expressed satisfaction that the scope of trade in goods has been growing in recent years (in 2018, it reached EUR 114.7 million, i.e. it increased by 6.5 per cent when compared with 2017). The presidents expressed interest in further enhanced cooperation, particularly in energy, renewable energy sources, infrastructure projects, tourism, agriculture and IT or digitalisation.

President Đukanović also thanked the Slovenian President for excellent development cooperation. Montenegro is the programme priority of the Slovenian development assistance, for which Slovenia earmarks the largest share of funds. In 2017, Montenegro received EUR 1,241,000 of available bilateral development assistance.

Presidents Pahor and Đukanović dedicated a lot of time to presenting and exchanging views of the situation in the negotiation process of Montenegro’s accession to the European Union. President Pahor confirmed that Slovenia supported Montenegro in its accession and would provide further concrete assistance by experts within the field of bilateral technical assistance when preparing to open negotiating chapters and complying therewith. It was of key importance, highlighted President Pahor, that Montenegro remained clearly committed to EU negotiations and implemented substantive reforms in order to enhance the credibility of the process of European integration. Most crucially, President Pahor mentioned the implementation of reforms regarding the rule of law, since this is the field to which EU Member States dedicate special attention and scrutiny.

Slovenia will further support Montenegro during its membership in NATO and will continue various training programmes and offer assistance to facilitate the adoption of the Alliance standards. President Pahor also assessed that the membership contributed to the international reputation of Montenegro from the viewpoint of foreign investments, in which noticeable growth was recorded, and he expressed satisfaction that, following its accession to NATO, Montenegro remained a supporter of the open-door policy.

President Pahor uses exhaustive and thorough discussions with President Đukanović for a forensic analysis of conditions in the Western Balkans in individual countries and the region as a whole
Photo: Nebojša Tajić/STA

The presidents also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans. President Pahor stressed that Montenegro was an important stability factor in the region, pursuing a constructive policy of good relations with all neighbours. At the press conference, he noted that the leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process at the recent meeting in Tirana committed to writing for the first time the opinion that the issue of the enlargement of the European Union was a geopolitical question and not a technical one. The President added that this opinion had never before been stated, which meant that the leaders assessed that the political will towards EU enlargement would likely decrease in the future and it was our duty to contribute with a more visionary approach towards the enlargement so that Europe saw the enlargement in the Western Balkans as an opportunity and not a cause for fear. President Pahor expressed hope that the new European Commission or new leadership of European institutions would be appointed as soon as possible, but he expressed his concern that the process would be more difficult than ever before and added that it was our task in the meantime to assist the European Commission with an attractive plan to keep the enlargement on its agenda.

In the continuation of his visit, President Pahor met Ivan Brajović, President of the Parliament of Montenegro, with whom he spoke particularly about the role of the Parliament when adapting legislation and acceding to the European Union. They spoke about the report on the state of negotiations issued yesterday by the European Commission. The President of the Parliament expressed hope that the enlargement stayed on the agenda of the European Union. He was also interested in the President’s assessment of the elections to the European Parliament.

The Slovenian President met Duško Marković, the Prime Minister of Montenegro. The discussion partners focused in particular on the current situation in the Western Balkans.

As part of the official visit, the President of the Republic of Slovenia will also visit Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro, where he will visit King Nikola's Palace with Aleksandar Bogdanović, Montenegrin Minister of Culture, and Aleksandar Kašćelan, Mayor of Cetinje, where is located the National Museum of Montenegro, which houses some of the most precious exhibits from Montenegrin political, military and cultural history.

The Slovenian President will conclude his official visit to Montenegro with a lunch hosted by Aleksandar Bogdanović, Montenegrin Minister of Culture.

Tomorrow, President Pahor will attend the 9th conference of the To Be Secure Forum (2BS Forum), in Budva, where issues relating to the topical regional and global security challenges will be addressed. The purpose of this year’s forum is to examine and form joint alliance approaches on the basis of which security in South-East Europe and also beyond will be further sustainably and successfully enhanced in the future.