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33rd session of the Slovenian-Bavarian Mixed Commission opens at Brdo pri Kranju

The 33rd session of the Slovenian-Bavarian Mixed Commission, Slovenia's oldest form of international cooperation, opened at Brdo pri Kranju. The Commission will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2025, and this session was dedicated to the preparations for this important event. The members of the Commission were introduced by State Secretary Marko Štucin.

Bavaria is Slovenia's most important economic partner among the German states. Last year, the volume of trade between Slovenia and Bavaria amounted to almost EUR 3.4 billion, which is almost a quarter of the total trade with Germany, and this year's figures reflect the continuing upward trend.

The session is an opportunity to exchange views on the current challenges we are facing. “Relations between Slovenia and Bavaria are traditionally friendly. The two share many common interests, largely based on similarities – from mentality and geography to shared views on a number of international issues. There is excellent cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, educational, agricultural, environmental, home affairs and judicial fields. The large Slovenian community in Bavaria is an important binding element. I am convinced that this session, like the previous ones, will result in concrete and mutually beneficial agreements," State Secretary Štucin said in his address to the Commission members.

Ambassador Ksenija Škrilec, Chair of the Slovenian-Bavarian Mixed Commission on the Slovenian side, emphasised at the beginning of the plenary session: "we are pleased to note that the cooperation between Slovenia and Bavaria is not just a talking shop, as evidenced by the planned upgrading of cooperation between the University Children’s Hospital in Ljubljana and the German Heaart Centre Munich (Herzzentrum München), and the Memorandum of Understanding between Space-SI and Isar Aerospace, which will be signed on the second day of the session. The potential of our Commission therefore ranges from the human to the cosmic". 

On the first day of the meeting, the members of the Commission visited the Children’s Hospital of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana (UMCL). There, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, which co-chairs the Slovenian-Bavarian Mixed Commission, an agreement was signed between the Children’s Hospital and the German Heart Centre Munich to strengthen professional exchanges. "The members of the Commission managed to agree on inter-institutional support for cooperation between UMCL and the German Heart Centre Munich, a leading medical institution in the field of treatment of people with heart defects. I am particularly pleased that the German Heart Centre in Munich will also perform operations on children, which is especially important in light of the shortage of operations in Israel," said Tanja Fajon, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, in a press statement on the sidelines of the meeting at which the agreement was signed.

On the second day, 9 November 2023, the members of the Commission will see a demonstration of the role of satellites in fires, droughts and floods in Slovenia over the last two years and attend a presentation on the cooperation between Isar Aerospace and Space-SI at the Maritime Administration in Koper. This will be followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between Space-SI and Isar Aerospace.

The agreement between the Space-SI Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies and Isar Aerospace, concluded within the framework of the Slovenian-Bavarian Commission, is one of the key steps in the implementation of the Space-SI Centre of Excellence's space strategy and envisages cooperation in three phases. The agreement presents the following vision: 1.) a joint Slovenian-Bavarian space mission by 2025; 2.) the deployment of a Slovenian-Bavarian microsatellite system (SI-BAV) (2026–2027) in support of climate action and the UN Water Action Agenda; and 3.) from 2028, the expansion of the system through coordinated production of satellites, rockets and digital twins.

Established 48 years ago, the Slovenian-Bavarian Mixed Commission is the oldest form of international cooperation with Slovenia as an actor in the international political arena. It is currently co-chaired by Ambassador Ksenija Škrilec on the Slovenian side and Mr Stefan Schumann on the Bavarian side.