Slovenian-Austrian year of neighbourhood dialogue 2019-2020
On Wednesday, Slovenian foreign minister Miro Cerar in his role as keynote speaker inaugurated the Slovenian-Austrian year of neighbourhood dialogue 2019-2020 at the Festival Hall in Ljubljana.
In his speech he stated that the year-long project of in-depth neighbourly dialogue, which is being launched in both Vienna and Ljubljana, is intended to develop a new partnership between the two countries, increase mutual familiarity and cooperation between institutions and inhabitants of the neighbouring countries and to eliminate stereotypes.
Minister Cerar noted that Slovenia and Austria are connected by several centuries of shared history and similar views on important topics relating to the future of the European Union. The cooperation extends into numerous areas, from business and tourism to cross-border cooperation, arts and culture, student exchanges under the Erasmus project and cooperation between scientific institutions. According to Cerar, the Slovenian-Austrian friendship associations, clubs and individual members of the German-speaking community in Slovenia and the Slovenian national minority in Austria each make a unique contribution to the cultural and social life in the neighbouring countries. The year of neighbourhood dialogue will conclude on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite. According to Minister Cerar, this will be an opportunity to place the historical burden of the 20th century in the context of the European and global values of reconciliation, coexistence and mutual respect, which are also the bases for future Slovenian-Austrian relations.
The Slovenian-Austrian neighbourhood dialogue 2019-2020, which was a joint initiative by Minister Cerar and the former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl, will be carried out throughout the entire year in Slovenia and Austria via a series of events focusing primarily on cooperation in the area of arts and culture. The coordinators of the projects, the Slovenian Cultural Centre in Vienna and the Austrian Cultural Forum in Ljubljana, will hold more than 60 events that will connect cultural and academic institutions, media, schools and universities in joint projects on the topics of history, tradition, the environment, sport, protection of water and the Alpine region, and promotion of tourism. The project also follows EU policy, which prioritises intercultural dialogue, cultural tourism and heritage.