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Slovenian and French Ministers confirm excellent cooperation with signing of 2024–2027 agreement

During her visit to Paris, Minister Tanja Fajon and Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, discussed strengthening cooperation between the two countries and concluded a new Strategic Partnership Action Plan. Minister Fajon stressed that Slovenia will strive to overcome differences in the UN Security Council and actively seek opportunities to promote its priorities.

"I am delighted that Minister Colonna and I have signed the fourth Strategic Partnership Action Plan, which covers a number of areas of cooperation between the two countries over the next four years. France is an extremely important partner for Slovenia, especially in terms of investment. I hope that we will soon reach an agreement to strengthen Revoz's production in Slovenia. We also discussed how to increase economic and political cooperation between the two countries and how to jointly address the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and reach a lasting ceasefire and a two-state solution as soon as possible. Slovenia and France are now sitting together at the same table in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and I would like to take this opportunity to thank France for assisting us in this extremely important task by sharing its knowledge and experience," said Minister Fajon after her meeting with Minister Colonna.

"The Fourth Action Plan sets out the main guidelines for our cooperation over the next four years. The new plan is adapted to the changed geopolitical situation in Europe and the world and focuses on strengthening the political partnership, promoting economic cooperation to strengthen the EU's sovereignty and competitiveness in the context of the green and digital transition, and deepening the partnership in the fields of education, higher education, research and culture," said Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon after the meeting in Paris which concluded with the signing of the agreement with France for the period 2024–2027.

Slovenia and France cooperate in a number of areas, and France is one of Slovenia's priority markets in terms of business, tourism and connectivity with other destinations. Therefore, Minister Fajon welcomed the good air connectivity between the two countries and stressed that she still sees room for manoeuvre for more flights to and from France, also in the light of the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics.

The Slovenian and French ministers also touched on the Western Balkans. In the changed geopolitical situation, they agreed it is essential to speed up the enlargement process, assuming that countries implement reforms faster. It is in this region that Slovenia and France have supported a joint initiative on the Western Balkans Cyber Capacity Centre (WB3C) project. "I look forward to our joint visit to Podgorica for the opening of the premises this coming spring. We are pleased that the Centre has already started operations and that the first activities are already underway. The Centre will certainly contribute to operational capacity, regional networking of cybersecurity experts, the establishment of consistent protocols and practices in the region, which is key to effectively prevent malicious cyber activities," Minister Fajon underlined, explaining that she will continue to urge the Montenegrin Government to complete the premises of the Centre by the end of March.

The talks also focused on cooperation between Slovenia and France in the UN Security Council, where they have been serving together since January - France as a permanent member and Slovenia as a non-permanent member with a two-year mandate. Minister Fajon thanked her colleague for her support in Slovenia's preparations for membership, and explained that Slovenia will remain open to suggestions in the Security Council: "We will support all efforts to improve the situation in the Middle East. At the same time, we must pay equal attention to the rapidly evolving situation in Africa, where we are facing a deteriorating security environment and increasing pressure on UN operations and missions. We must not forget that peace and stability in Africa have a direct impact on the situation in Europe, especially with the ever-increasing migration flows." France, with its extensive experience in this body, is an important and valuable partner for Slovenia.

During her visit, Fajon also met with Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The main topics of the talks were the strengthening of cultural and scientific cooperation within UNESCO and Slovenia's further cooperation within the OECD, including in the light of its membership of the UN Security Council.