State Secretary Štucin in Rome on bilateral relations and Western Balkans
State Secretary Štucin and Deputy Foreign Minister Cirielli confirmed the very positive relations between neighbouring Slovenia and Italy and their extensive economic, political and cultural cooperation. They agreed that GO!2025 European Capital of Culture (ECC) is a project that reflects this excellent cooperation, with the State Secretary underlining its exceptional importance as Nova Gorica and Gorizia become a model of European cooperation and joint development on both sides of the border. "Ahead of the upcoming National Memorial Day, I conveyed to my Italian counterpart our expectations that it will take place in a spirit of reconciliation and good neighbourly relations," said State Secretary Štucin after his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Cirielli. He also handed over to the Deputy Foreign Minister a copy of the report of the Slovenian-Italian Historical and Cultural Commission, which remains a key document of harmonised expert views on the history between the two nations, and reiterated his call to the Italian side to officially publish the report.
In the afternoon, State Secretary Štucin attended a meeting of the Friends of the Western Balkans, hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. The foreign ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, the foreign ministers of Austria, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Slovakia, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic and a representative of the European Commission discussed the current dynamics in the region and the EU member states with regard to EU enlargement to the Western Balkans. "The Bled Pledge - the idea that both the Union and the Western Balkans should be ready for enlargement by 2030 - is still very much alive. The current geostrategic situation calls for a new, reinvigorated approach to enlargement. Together with Germany, Slovenia took the initiative to make the enlargement process more efficient, once again demonstrating its proactivity and commitment to the enlargement debate and the future of the Union," State Secretary Štucin said at the meeting. He added that Slovenia will continue to work for an early decision on the opening of negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and welcomed the activities of Montenegro, which with its recent decisions sends a clear and positive signal of the willingness to accelerate its European path.