Minister Dr Cerar and Minister Di Maio committed to enhanced cooperation
During his visit to Rome, Foreign Minister Dr Miro Cerar met with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio. The counterparts endorsed strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation at the European and regional levels. Minister Cerar outlined the expectations of the Slovenian national minority regarding its representation in the Italian parliament and the restitution of the National Hall in Trieste.
The Ministers agreed that the seventh meeting of the Coordination Committee of Ministers, scheduled for 2020, would be held in Rome. The Committee is a valuable platform for cooperation in infrastructure, the environment, agriculture, education, science, and between the police forces. Minister Cerar singled out economic cooperation, with bilateral trade totalling EUR 8.4 billion in 2018: Italy was Slovenia’s second most prominent foreign trade partner and ranked fifth in terms of FDI.
The ministers also talked about their respective national minorities, agreeing that these bring the two countries and their peoples closer together. Minister Cerar commended the dialogue between the Italian government and the Slovenian minority, focusing on the preparations for the commemoration to mark the centenary of the arson attack on the National Hall in 2020, which will be attended by the two presidents. Minister Di Maio gave an assurance that Italy would take all necessary steps for the restitution of the National Hall to the Slovenian minority.
The topical issue of migration was another item on the agenda. Minister Cerar outlined the situation along the Western Balkan route, Slovenia's measures on the external Schengen border, and the deployment of police officers to Serbia and North Macedonia. Praising joint police patrols as an example of an effective response to irregular migration, they spoke in favour of European solutions, including strengthening the EU’s external borders, reforming the European asylum legislation, and cooperating with third countries.
The ministers share similar views on the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans and agree that a proactive approach to enlargement must be continued. The Slovenian and Italian foreign ministers expect that the incoming European Commission will offer credible enlargement prospects to the countries in the region, with due regard to their economic development and institution building, including in terms of the rule of law, thus facilitating their EU integration process.