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Foreign Minister Fajon on her first official trip abroad assures Slovenia’s ongoing support for EU enlargement

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tanja Fajon took part in the Ministerial Meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Thessaloniki and held several bilateral meetings on the margins of the event.

At the annual meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process, the foreign ministers exchanged views on an appropriate response to regional and global challenges, with a view to promoting development in all areas of social life to the benefit of the region and its citizens. They focused on the European integration process and further work in the areas of connectivity in the SEECP region and beyond, energy, migration, and security following the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine.

Minister Fajon underlined the importance of a credible enlargement policy for the reform efforts in the Western Balkans, highlighting the enlargement policy as the EU’s most effective geostrategic policy that also has relevance in the context of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the EU’s future relations with Georgia and Moldova. “In its foreign and European policy, Slovenia will not tolerate non-compliance with the commitments and promises made in the European Union’s enlargement process towards the Western Balkans. We are running out of time. The mistakes of the past must not be repeated in the European Union and in the region of South-Eastern Europe. The war in Ukraine demands that we take responsibility for the enlargement process to be resumed as soon as possible by opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. The strategic integration of all European countries on our continent should be a process of complementarity, not a process of substitution such as the enlargement process in the Western Balkans,” said the minister.

The first official trip by Minister Fajon abroad also carries a symbolic meaning in terms of support for the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans and Slovenia’s assurance that the process will proceed effectively.

In her address, the minister also underlined Slovenia’s unwavering support for Ukraine and the European perspective of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, albeit not to the detriment of the Western Balkan countries, as well as the importance of improving and ensuring energy security. The meeting participants agreed on the need to increase energy production from renewable and clean sources and to reduce energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency.

On the margins of the ministerial meeting, Minister Fajon met with the host, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and held bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of Albania, Olta Xhaçka, Montenegro, Ranko Krivokapić, North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, and Serbia, Nikola Selaković.