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A European Perspective for the Western Balkans among the Priorities of Slovenia’s Presidency of the EU Council

The Slovenian Foreign Minister, Miro Cerar, attended an event held by the Institute for Strategic Solutions (ISR), where the latest edition of the institute’s annual publication, The Adriatic Journal, titled Strategic Foresight 2020 was presented.

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar speaks at a panel on the Western Balkans

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar speaks at a panel on the Western Balkans | Author Tamino Petelinšek, STA

Before the event, he also attended an informal meeting with the former Austrian Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, to discuss the formation of the new Austrian government, cooperation between the two countries during the year of neighbourly dialogue and the situation within the region, and they also touched upon the current developments in the Middle East.

The main topic of this year’s event was Opportunities in the Western Balkans. As the Minister revealed during his introductory interview with the event’s host, the foreign policy journalist at Delo, Jure Kosec, a European perspective for the Western Balkans will be among the priorities during Slovenia’s Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021. "Slovenia is among the main initiators of a constructive discussion regarding the future of the EU enlargement policy. An agreement on the main points of the enlargement methodology should be reached by March to facilitate the decision to start the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania,” Cerar pointed out.

The Minister also drew special attention to the role of economic diplomacy, which is the priority of Slovenian foreign policy. According to Cerar, economic diplomacy and the efforts made in this area by the Slovenian Foreign Ministry and Slovenian embassies are directed towards helping Slovenian companies that are entering a host country’s market, or companies in a host country that want to enter the Slovenian market. Slovenia strives for companies to obtain business information and consequently win opportunities in the shortest time and with the lowest costs possible. “Diplomacy opens the doors that usually remain shut,” he added.