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State Secretary Dovžan attends a seminar on the Western Balkans and meets with Juan González-Barba Pera

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs

State Secretary Gašper Dovžan took part in a seminar on the Western Balkans in Madrid, which was organised by the Slovenian Embassy in Madrid, the Bled Strategic Forum, and the Elcano Royal Institute. On this occasion, he also met with State Secretary for the European Union at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain Juan González-Barba Pera. In a separate meeting, the two state secretaries reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on topical European, regional, and global issues. Slovenia and Spain are both focusing their efforts towards strengthening the EU's resilience to crises of all kinds with a view to putting the slogan of the Slovenian Presidency “Together. Resilient. Europe.” into action.

The attendees of the seminar hosted by State Secretary Dovžan included the Spanish State Secretary González-Barba Pera as well as the ministers and state secretaries of Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia. In his speech, State Secretary Dovžan drew attention to the importance of the enlargement process for the EU, stating that it needs to be perceived as its strategic orientation and maintain its credibility.

In a separate bilateral discussion, state secretaries Dovžan and González-Barba Pera confirmed excellent relations between Slovenia and Spain, which are reflected in frequent high-level exchange visits. State Secretary Dovžan outlined for his counterpart the achievements of the Slovenian Presidency so far, which would not have been possible without the constructive cooperation and support from others, including Spain. The two high officials agreed that member states must work in unison to achieve any real progress, be it in migration flows management, tackling climate change and impacts of the pandemic, or the social and economic recovery. They devoted particular attention to the enlargement process and closer EU integration with the Western Balkans. Spain also supports the common strategic objective and the Slovenian Presidency priorities, with the very important participation of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in the EU-Western Balkans Summit, which was held in October in Slovenia, attesting to it. As regards other European issues, the pair exchanged views on how the Conference on the Future of Europe is unfolding as well as on the UK with regard to Gibraltar, which is of great strategic importance for Spain.

State Secretary Dovžan also met with the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Spanish Congress of Deputies. In their talks, they advocated further deepening of interparliamentary cooperation, stressing the need for an open dialogue and exchange of views at the parliamentary level as well, particularly among the Mediterranean EU member states.