Minister Dr Logar: “We will implement a more confident, agile and active foreign policy”
Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Anže Logar held his first press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, six months after he took office. He outlined the achievements, goals and vision of Slovenia’s foreign policy, which is seeking to put Slovenia back on the international map as a reliable partner within the EU and a credible member of international organisations while pursuing Slovenia's interests. Minister Logar stressed that Slovenia will follow the Foreign Policy Strategy adopted in 2015 and build “a safe, successful and globally respected” state.
At the outset of the conference, Minister Logar stated that in the last three months and a half, there have been 17 bilateral visits, including those by the foreign ministers of Germany, the US and France. In addition, he has met with the Italian foreign minister three times already. In the coming months, Slovenia will seek to enhance meetings at the level of foreign ministers, state secretaries and directors general with the trio countries and France, which will take over the presidency from Slovenia. All bilateral meetings reflect vibrant activities of the Slovenian diplomacy in the recent period. The minister took this opportunity to thank Slovenian diplomats for their committed work carried out under the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic and their up-to-date reporting on the new measures imposed in their respective countries.
On the subject of the intensive preparations for Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, Minister Logar asserted that Slovenia’s priorities and programme will be presented at the beginning of the next year, also to external partners. Slovenia maintains regular contacts both with High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borell and the current holder of the EU presidency, Germany, as well as with France, which is to pick up the presidency baton from Slovenia. He underlined that both Slovenian and French presidency programmes are largely harmonised and that Slovenia would like to see a smooth transition between the two presidencies.
The motto of the Foreign Policy Strategy captures the main objective of the work of Slovenian diplomats, offering clear guidance: “Slovenia: safe, successful and globally respected”. Levels of achievement of the objectives set out both in the Strategy and the Declaration of Foreign Policy were reviewed in detail at the recent Consultations of Slovenian Diplomats. The minister stated that there is a high level of consensus on the key future priorities: a confident and substantially more active foreign policy, focusing on enhanced transatlantic relations and establishing ties with the Central European countries. In the past decade, both priorities were already assessed as having considerable potential for Slovenian foreign policy.
Minister Logar announced that next week, he will host the foreign ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, who will gather for the third time in the Central 5 format. The C5 countries – a name coined by Minister Logar himself – is a new informal association of countries sharing similar standpoints on certain issues. The C5 meeting will be devoted particularly to consultations on coordinating the measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Close ties with neighbouring countries and countries in the region make it possible to harmonise in advance the measures not yet coordinated at the EU level. The meeting in this smaller format will also be useful in terms of discussing the current foreign policy issues, namely the situation in the Mediterranean, Belarus and Libya, which will be included on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting to be held in Brussels at the end of this month.
As regards Slovenia’s position in the foreign policy currents, Minister Logar touched on including Slovenia alongside the Mediterranean countries. The informal group Med7 could also be an efficient tool for Slovenia to attain its goals and pursue its interests within the EU, as it does not only have a typical Central European character but also a Mediterranean one. The minister thus announced that relations with the foreign ministers from the Mediterranean countries will be further strengthened, starting already on Friday, 18 September, when he will host the Greek foreign minister, and himself will later on travel to Lisbon, Madrid and Malta. He is also planning to host the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.
In conclusion, Minister Logar voiced his intention to rejuvenate Slovenian diplomacy, as there were no junior diplomats employed since 2012, who would bring fresh ideas to the table and thus contribute to a successful implementation of foreign policy.