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Prime Minister Robert Golob hosts Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for first official visit

Prime Minister Robert Golob hosted the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, for the first official visit to Slovenia. The high-level visit from Spain is the first official visit of a foreign leader at the Prime Minister’s invitation. The first head of the Spanish executive branch to pay an official visit to Slovenia was José María Aznar, who came here 22 years ago.

The current Prime Minister, Mr Sánchez, was invited to make an official visit to Slovenia mainly in the light of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of this year. The talks between the two heads of state therefore focused on the most current topics on the agenda of European leaders. They addressed the Russian aggression against Ukraine, strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy, energy challenges, a joint EU response to migration and the EU enlargement policy, with an emphasis on the Western Balkans.

As Prime Minister Robert Golob pointed out in his statement after the talks, Slovenia and Spain are friendly countries with similar views and values. "This makes our coordination easy or, in fact, even unnecessary," said Prime Minister Golob. Both leaders agreed that the student exchange between Slovenia and Spain is an example of good relations between the two countries. This, they said, serves as a model for enhancing bilateral relations in education, youth, culture and business cooperation.

The two Prime Ministers devoted a great deal of attention to bilateral issues. "One of the agreements is to organise meetings at the government and business forum levels before the summer in order to achieve two things. To increase cooperation between the two countries and to open up opportunities for joint cooperation on global markets," said the Slovenian Prime Minister. He added that the two countries would like to increase investment, particularly in health systems, the pharmaceutical industry and energy.

On European issues, the two leaders stressed the open strategic autonomy of the European Union, which will be one of the key priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, and strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy. "The open strategic autonomy of the European Union is a topic that will determine, in the long run, whether Europe remains a continent of prosperity or not," said Prime Minister Golob. Europe can only maintain this position with a vital and competitive economy, he said. Competitiveness starts with current energy prices, which he believes are unacceptable. He announced that the EU would therefore address the issue of structural reforms of energy markets in the coming months.

On the war in Ukraine, the two Prime Ministers agreed that the EU must remain united and that there is no doubt as to who the aggressor is. Both countries support Ukraine by all means and are helping it to the best of their abilities. They also touched on migration, which is one of the main issues in Europe. "There is finally a consensus at the EU level that migration is a problem that we need to tackle together. However, a lot of work is still needed," the Slovenian Prime Minister concluded. The two leaders highlighted the Western Balkans as a priority area for the EU.

Slovenia and Spain are like-minded EU Member States, sharing fundamental democratic values and many common views on key European and international issues. As Mediterranean countries, they are also strengthening their cooperation within the EU-MED and MED9 groups.