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Prime Minister Janša meets with Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki

Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša hosted a working lunch with the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, followed by a joint press conference.

At the press conference, Prime Minister Janša said that Slovenia welcomed the Polish Prime Minister at a time when his country was not only defending its own borders, but also the borders of the European Union and NATO. He expressed his support and solidarity with Poland, congratulating the Polish Prime Minister on his determination, courage and efforts, including the diplomatic efforts taken to stop the wave of illegal migration putting pressure on the Polish border, at least temporarily. He also thanked the EU institutions for their role in the matter.

“Slovenia condemns the actions of the Belarus regime of President Lukashenko, who is using people to achieve his political ends and to try to destabilise not only Poland but the entire EU."

The Prime Minister thanked his Polish counterpart for the assistance that Poland provided to Slovenia last year by sending police officers to help protect the Schengen border. According to him, Slovenia is also facing the pressure of illegal migration. "We prevented 14,000 illegal border crossing attempts at the Schengen border last year and 8,500 this year."

The Prime Minister went on to say that the EU must offer its full support to the member states protecting the Schengen border by financing all measures, "including physical obstacles at the border, because these are the measures that prevent violence and illegal border crossing and replace the use of more invasive measures"

Regarding the Western Balkans, he pointed out that Slovenia and Poland had common views in terms of supporting the countries in the region in obtaining full EU membership. “Some of these countries are already members of NATO, which strengthens our common security, and we also have clear views on the necessity of the imminent prospect of EU membership. We are all striving to reach a consensus on this issue among all EU member states."

Another topic of conversation between the two leaders was the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Prime Minister Janša said that Slovenia was launching an initiative for a joint procurement of COVID-19 medicines. "Our minister of health will present this initiative to his European colleagues. Because we have good experience with the vaccine acquisition mechanism, it would be sensible to use a similar approach regarding the new and approved COVID-19 medicines. This would make it possible to ensure enough medicines for all EU citizens as soon as they become available. Before us is a difficult winter where we will still be dealing with the risk of infection, and any medicine that can help mitigate the consequences and cure people who contract this disease can help all of us, including when it comes to containing this danger in general."

The Prime Minister said that he and his Polish counterpart were equally concerned about the accumulation of Russian military forces at Ukraine’s borders. He said, "This concentration of Russian forces is far from any military exercise in normal circumstances. We therefore call on all responsible parties to stay vigilant as the situation unfolds to avoid any surprises, as in the case of Russia’s occupation of Crimea. We don’t need another escalation of tensions and therefore appeal to Moscow authorities to act sensibly.”

When asked about the help Poland might expect from Slovenia, he answered that Slovenia, as the country holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, was trying to mobilise as much support as possible within the EU. Slovenia also offered Poland direct assistance in the same form as Poland provided to protect the Slovenian border. Slovenia is prepared to offer assistance by sending police officers to protect the border, if Poland deemed it necessary. "A promise has been given today and, from this day forward, Poland can count on Slovenia anytime it needs help."

The Prime Minister also said that the reaction of most EU member states to the ongoing crisis was quite different that the confusion back in 2015 in response to the Syrian crisis, which Slovenia experienced first-hand with an invasion of tens of thousands of illegal migrants on Slovenian territory. The situation is not repeating itself now, said the Prime Minister, largely thanks to Poland which, unlike at that time, when the external borders of the EU and Schengen fell one by one, stopped the wave.

When asked about the appointment of European Delegated Prosecutors, Prime Minister Janša replied that nothing that had not been previously agreed upon was happening. If there are any uncertainties, they will be cleared up in the following days and months.