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Minister Fajon on her first visit to Zagreb to strengthen good neighbourly relations

Minister of Foreign Affairs Tanja Fajon paid her first visit to neighbouring Croatia. As well as spending time with her host, Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlić Radman, she also met with Croatian President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Minister Fajon underlined Slovenia's support for Croatia's full EU integration, with the adoption of the euro and entry into the Schengen area planned for the beginning of next year. She and her Croatian counterpart advocated continued dialogue and the resolution of outstanding issues at the working level. In her talks with Minister Grlić Radman, Minister Fajon reaffirmed her commitment to strengthening good neighbourly relations.

The two neighbouring countries and their nations are bound by numerous historical and cultural ties, including intensive people-to-people contacts. "With this visit, I would like to clearly show Slovenia’s support for enhancing good neighbourly relations with Croatia, and that we are a friend and ally," said Minister Fajon. Croatia's accession to the Schengen area will be a concrete step on this path. "Slovenia supports Croatia's full integration into the EU, which means that we support Croatia's entry into Schengen and, of course, welcome its entry to the eurozone," she added. She went on to express her belief that the latter will further enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.

Minister Fajon also conveyed to her colleague the decision of the new Slovenian Government to remove the border fence and insist on the implementation of the arbitration agreement. "I have communicated that the new Slovenian Government will respect the Court's decision on arbitration and insist on the implementation of the arbitration agreement. In the spirit of good neighbourly relations, we agreed that we will try to resolve concrete projects, such as fishing and bridge reconstruction, on an informal, working level and as a matter of priority.” The Ministers agreed to continue the dialogue through working groups, focusing on finding solutions to concrete projects and challenges. They will call on the relevant ministries to step up cooperation in specific areas. The two Foreign Ministers also discussed regional cooperation. Slovenia and Croatia joined the EU Med Group in 2021 and, in cooperation with Italy, established trilateral cooperation in the northern Adriatic in 2020. Minister Fajon underlined the importance of the North Adriatic ports.

"Cooperation between coastal countries is crucial for the ecological protection of the sea, while at the same time offering many economic opportunities. Northern Adriatic ports are becoming key to diversifying the EU's supply of oil and especially natural gas," said Minister Fajon. Her talks with Croatian President Zoran Milanović focused on the Western Balkans, in particular the candidate status of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In discussion with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Minister Fajon focused on enhancing economic cooperation and Slovenia's interest in supplying liquefied natural gas from the LNG terminal on the island of Krk. During her visit to Zagreb, Minister Fajon also met with representatives of the Slovenian national community in Croatia. She thanked them for their efforts to preserve the Slovene language and culture and stressed the importance of political representation at all levels for the development of the community.