Foreign Ministers of Slovenia and France sign new Slovenian-French Strategic Partnership Action Plan
Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian signed the new French–Slovenian Strategic Partnership Action Plan for 2019–2022 in Paris today. Minister Cerar is paying a working visit to France at the invitation of his French counterpart.
“The Strategic Partnership Plan, which Minister Le Drian and I signed today, will enhance and add impetus to the cooperation between Slovenia and France in many areas. The Plan covers the period when both France and Slovenia will hold the EU Council presidency in 2021 and 2022,” said Minister Cerar upon signing the document.
“Slovenia and France are partners and allies, both staunch supporters of the rule of law, human rights and effective multilateralism. Slovenia would like to cooperate more closely with France during preparations for the EU Council presidency as France will take over the presidency from Slovenia.”
During the meeting before the signing ceremony, the two ministers discussed current European issues and exchanged views on developments in Brussels, where EU leaders are deciding on the new leadership of the European Commission and European Parliament. Minister Cerar emphasised that Slovenia considers respect for the rule of law one of the fundamental principles in the functioning of the Union. In their talks, the ministers devoted considerable attention to strengthening multilateralism, which is a condition for dealing effectively with current challenges and crises, and in which France as a permanent member of the Security Council plays one of the central roles. They also discussed Africa, which remains an important strategic partner for the Union, and the effects of climate change on the continent, which require joint action.
The talks also covered the Western Balkans, with Minister Cerar emphasising that prospects for EU membership need to be preserved for the countries of the region, and adding that an unequivocal and credible agreement should be reached in October on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
The ministers went on to discuss the cooperation between European countries in managing migration, fighting terrorism and dealing with climate change.
“Slovenia is in favour of European solutions with regard to migration and opposes any unilateral moves,” said Minister Cerar. He stressed that member states should cooperate in solidarity in resolving migration issues, adding that internal Schengen borders should be free of border controls.
The ministers advocated close consultations between representatives of the two countries on all topics included in the Strategic Partnership Action Plan: concrete forms of cooperation in politics, the economy, tourism, culture, science, research, education and sport. In 2024, Paris will host both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
France is Slovenia’s fifth most important foreign trading partner and is designated a priority market in the International Challenges 2019–2020 programme. Slovenia also sees considerable potential for closer cooperation in digitisation and artificial intelligence.
“We believe that the Action Plan, which includes cooperation in science and innovation, ICT and artificial intelligence, will boost economic cooperation between Slovenia and France,” said Minister Cerar.
In the morning, Minister Cerar met with Jean Bizet, President of the Commission for European Affairs of the Senate, and Senator Colette Mélot, Head of the Slovenian–French Friendship Group, to discuss European issues and bilateral cooperation in the areas covered by the Action Plan.