Slovenia–Friuli Venezia Giulia Joint Committee vital for connecting cross-border regions
Representatives of Slovenia and the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia met today in Koper for the fourth session of the Slovenia–Friuli Venezia Giulia Joint Committee. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Miro Cerar and President of the Autonomous Region Massimiliano Fedriga, co-chairs of the Joint Committee, agreed that the cooperation between Slovenia and its neighbouring region of Friuli Venezia Giulia was very valuable. Agenda items for today’s session present the diversity of dialogue between Slovenia and its neighbouring Italian region, reflecting the needs of people on both sides of the border, explained Minister Cerar.
At today’s session in Koper, during which representatives of ministries and services of the Slovenian Government and the Regional Council of Friuli Venezia Giulia participated in six working groups, the participants revised cooperation to date by thematic areas, exchanged examples of experience, and drafted proposals on future joint activities in the fields of transport, energy, the environment, spatial planning, agriculture and rural development, the economy and tourism, research and innovation, protection against natural and other disasters, social affairs, health, education, culture, and minority issues. The session also produced a joint statement. The delegations agreed that the next session of the Joint Committee would be held in Friuli Venezia Giulia.
At the plenary session, Minister Cerar and President Fedriga expressed their satisfaction with the regular dialogue and constructive cooperation within the Joint Committee, which could serve as a model of cross-border cooperation in Europe. Friuli Venezia Giulia is one of Slovenia’s major partners, with the value of trade amounting to almost one billion euros per year. Activities within the scope of the Joint Committee are also important for the two national minorities, as the Committee deals with a number of issues directly concerning them. The co‑chairs underlined that Slovenia and Friuli Venezia Giulia would continue their efforts to achieve their all-round participation in the cultural, social and political spheres. Both sides will also continue efforts to guarantee minority rights and to preserve and develop the identity of both national minorities.
Prior to the plenary session, Minister Cerar held a separate meeting with President Fedriga. They discussed the status of the Slovenian national minority in Italy, with Minister Cerar underlining the restitution of the Trieste National Hall and the representation of the Slovenian national minority at the regional level. The two also discussed migration and cooperation between Slovenia and Friuli Venezia Giulia in preventing illegal crossing of the border.
During the session, Minister Cerar also met with representatives of the Slovenian national minority in Italy to exchange views on topical minority issues.
The Joint Committee is held once annually in the form of a plenary session, alternately in Slovenia and in Friuli Venezia Giulia. It provides an important institutional framework for enhancing connections and resolving issues of special importance for the cross-border area and the local population. In between the plenary sessions, representatives of working groups also meet independently with a view to enhancing cooperation and seeking new opportunities for such cooperation.