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Monday, February 6, 2023

Minister Anže Logar on the most difficult week of his term: The effort was not in vain

By: Sara Kovač /Nova24tv

“Dear Anže, I am on my way to the airport. After two visits to Slovenia, I now know first-hand what sLOVEnia means. Generosity and hospitality of the highest quality. Thank you again,” one of the foreign participants wrote in a message to Foreign Minister Anže Logar. “Is this not the best reward for your efforts?” he pointed out.

After a year and a half of international activities, preparations for the presidency and the Bled Strategic Forum, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Anže Logar gathered some thoughts after the end of the last week, which he found the most strenuous since taking over the ministerial post.

And what was so special?

Logar emphasised that the Bled Strategic Forum was attended by a record number of Prime Ministers and a total of 180 high-ranking guests, which requires exceptional preparations in terms of accommodation, security and protocol. He added that preparations for the next Bled Strategic Forum will begin next month, which says a lot about the complexity of such an event.

How active the Minister’s day was and what could go wrong with it, Minister Logar summarised in the following note:

Concentrate of diplomacy

I admit, I had a good night sleep now. And yet…

The week that is coming to an end has been the hardest for me since taking office as Minister of Foreign Affairs. In essence, it represents the culmination of the efforts of Slovenian diplomacy in the last year and a half – international activities, preparations for the presidency, preparations for the BSF, with implementation concentrated in one week…

And what was so special?

Bled Strategic Forum. Record attendance, 14 Heads of Government and States (a total of 30 in 16 years, almost half in this ‘edition’ of the BSF!), a total of 180 high-ranking guests in need of accommodation, security, protocol and error-free logistics! Just what can go wrong??

Intermediate call only: preparation of the forum, content highlights, finding suitable interlocutors and ensuring their participation takes 10 months. We will start preparing the 17th BSF in October.

The crisis in Afghanistan, the issue of migration high on the agenda of EU ministerial meetings, and countries are (still) divided. So I cannot expect a debate without high tones. And it is taking place at a meeting of Foreign Ministers in Slovenia. Under the auspices of the Slovenian Presidency. Just what can go wrong??

Two key events during the Presidency in the field of the European Common Foreign and Security Policy – an informal meeting of Defence Ministers and an informal meeting of Foreign Ministers. In three days. Next to the BSF. 54 European Ministers to be given the highest level of protection. And the logistics, with already 180 guests of the BSF forum, which takes place simultaneously… Just what can go wrong??

And a work obligation for MFA employees. For example, this week’s ‘typical’ day: at 8:30 a.m. a meeting with a NATO High Representative. Then an interview. Then a panel with the award ceremony to Pedro Opeka. At 11 a.m. a panel on cooperation in the northern Adriatic. At 12:45 p.m. a meeting with the Indian MFA. At 2 p.m. a panel with five ministers on Mediterranean issues. At 3:45 p.m. press with the Indian Foreign Ministry. At 4 p.m., another panel on the Indo-Pacific. After the end, immediately to Brdo pri Kranju, where we start the ministerial meeting at 6 pm. About Afghanistan… Just what can go wrong??

Everything. Logistical complication. Security complication. Content complication. End of meeting without agreement. During the Slovenian presidency?!? Do you know how extensively the Slovenian media would report on this?

But everything went OK. What is more, the week was – a success. If anything was reported in our media, I do not know. If not, this is further proof that we have done well.

I was really relieved…

In every way, we must thank all those who contributed to the flawless implementation of logistics, security and content work. Special thanks also to my team, who, selflessly, through all the normal work norms at the expense of their private time, did their best to make it possible.

The effort was not in vain. How do I know? Yesterday afternoon I received a text message from one of the European Foreign Ministers saying:

Dear Anze,

I am on my way to the airport. After my two visits to Slovenia I know on first-hand what sLOVEnia means. Generosity and top quality hospitality. Thank you again.

Is this not the best reward for your efforts? I feel Slovenia.

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