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Austrian Foreign Minister visits Slovenia

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Anže Logar hosted the Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Alexander Schallenberg. Today’s was the first bilateral meeting between the ministers, while they already met in person on 16 June in Vienna at the multilateral meeting of foreign ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia, which was hosted by Austria. During the Covid-19 pandemic, they held frequent telephone conversations, sometimes even several times per day, if necessary.

The ministers reiterated the excellent relations between the two countries and the high-level, regular political dialogue. They underlined the Year of Slovenia–Austria Neighbourly Dialogue, which has been underway since last October and increases the understanding and knowledge of both countries and their peoples.

Ministers Schallenberg and Logar expressed their satisfaction with the close economic cooperation between the two countries, as Austria ranks first amongst Slovenia’s investor countries and is its third most important economic partner. In addition, Austrians are the second most numerous tourists visiting Slovenia. They voiced the hope that this bilateral economic cooperation will remain at a similar level in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Minister Logar highlighted the expectations of the Slovenian minority in Austria in view of the centenary of the plebiscite, which will be celebrated on 10 October 2020. He pointed out the need for increasing the financing of the Slovenian minority that has not increased over the past 25 years and the importance of regulating the status of minority media and bilingual education. He also drew attention to Austria’s obligations laid down in the Austrian State Treaty.

The ministers continued their discussions on the current Covid-19 epidemiological situation in both countries and in their neighbourhood, on lifting Covid-19 restrictions and on EU action to tackle the economic, fiscal and other implications of the pandemic. They agreed on the importance of the EU’s unity and its better preparedness to respond to crisis situations.

Ministers Schallenberg and Logar also touched on the upcoming Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021, the multiannual financial framework, and migrations.