Yesterday, Prime Minister Janez Janša was on a working visit in Poland. The purpose of the visit is to strengthen political and economic cooperation between the two countries, and to exchange views and positions on current European affairs and foreign policy issues, with talks focusing on bilateral cooperation and the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council. Relations between Slovenia and Poland are good and friendly. Interest in strengthening bilateral cooperation is reflected in the areas of transport, logistics, energy, home affairs, defence, culture, science, parliamentary cooperation, and between cities. Among other things, we are cooperating well with Poland in the Three Seas Initiative and in the extended format of the Visegrad Group.
During the visit, the Prime Minister has already met with the host, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki. The meeting was followed by a press statement from both Prime Ministers. In a statement for the media, Prime Minister Janez Janša said that he was very grateful for the organisation of the visit during the pandemic, and when, despite dealing with an epidemic, we are obliged to take care of all the other things without which life does not flow. “I think this is my fourth time visiting Warsaw while in the role of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, and whenever I come, I see great development and progress and I congratulate you on that. For almost 40 years of my life, I have been following and studying recent Polish history with great interest. Mainly because the courage of Poles in times of suffering and resistance, the struggle for freedom against both Nazism and Communism, is inspiration for present and future generations. But also because the struggle for freedom and democratisation through the Solidarity movement in the 1980s largely inspired the Slovenian spring, on the basis of which Slovenia achieved a parliamentary system, democratisation, and later sovereignty and independence,” said the Prime Minister. As he said, his visit today was also a confirmation of our good and friendly relations throughout history. “On behalf of the Slovenian government, I can say that we are proud to have friends like Poland, especially because we see Poland as one of the most dynamic economies in Europe, a country with significant economic growth, low unemployment, rapidly increasing well-being of its population, and as a country that takes the commitment to work for the common good very seriously and can be an example to many others,” stressed Prime Minister Janez Janša. According to the Prime Minister of Slovenia, in its history Poland has gone through some periods similar to those that we Slovenes went through and therefore we understand each other better.
“I congratulate the Prime Minister on his successful fight against the epidemic last year. Poland had one of the smallest falls in GDP during the epidemic in the developed world, and during that time, especially in the first wave, Poland helped Slovenia, and Slovenia thanks them for that as well. Slovenia formed a new government at the beginning of the epidemic and was not prepared for it. There were many compatriots around the world and with the help of Poland, hundreds of them were able to come home,” said the Prime Minister, recalling the visit of a military medical team exactly one year ago, and establishing cooperation in exchanging experiences in fighting the epidemic.
“Economic cooperation between Poland and Slovenia is very well developed. For the situation of Slovenian GDP, trade is high, almost 2 billion euros, and this trade remained almost at the same level last year despite the epidemic, it only decreased by one percent,” said Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, adding that the talks between the two presidents also referred to investment of Slovenian and Polish companies in both economies. “The Slovenian government is trying to make Slovenia’s economic and social environment significantly more friendly to foreign investment, and I informed the Polish Prime Minister about these efforts,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
One of the topics of the conversation was also the review of Slovenia’s preparations for leading the EU Council in the second half of this year. “We see three main priorities here. One is preparing Europe for potential threats, which, as we have learned recently, especially as far as the epidemic is concerned, are very real. From this point of view, greater resilience and preparedness for potential new epidemics is one of the first priorities, and we will pay very close attention to this during our presidency of the EU Council,” said the Prime Minister. He went on to say that the second priority is cyber security. “This is a real threat that most Europeans are not aware of, but it is something that certainly increases the coherence of our efforts within the EU and NATO, because no single country within the EU is strong enough to effectively counter these potential threats,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
The Prime Minister also emphasised that a conference on the future of Europe would also be held within Slovenia’s leadership of the EU Council. “Slovenia wants this to be a debate without value monopolies, where all views on the future of Europe can be expressed, where no one will be excluded, where a synthesis will be made, and where we can find together that the EU can be strong with strong Member States. Attempts to weaken individual member states do not contribute to strengthening power, but vice versa, and in addition take the energy needed to meet strategic challenges,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
“In the conversation, we also touched on discussions on the rule of law. With great confidence, I can say that for us, Poland is a country that respects the rule of law. This is a country that has a dynamic, strong democracy, it had to fight hard for this democracy, sacrifice a lot, and sometimes it is difficult to listen, even in Slovenia, to some who were born into prosperity, when they are preaching about democracy and human rights, yet they did not sacrifice anything for that,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
The two Prime Ministers also exchanged views on the situation in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood. “I express solidarity with Poland regarding the detention of Polish activists in Belarus and we strongly condemn the measures against the union of Poles in Belarus. We also share a common concern about Russia’s moves, and we can say that they are certainly not in line with established international principles and norms. I express solidarity with our Czech colleagues, who are now under threat in connection with their diplomatic mission in Moscow,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
The Prime Minister also expressed satisfaction that the air connection between Warsaw and Ljubljana would be restored on May 1st. “We are looking forward to the visits of Polish friends. Slovenia is working to ensure that the summer tourist season can run smoothly. We reckon that we will achieve sufficient vaccination coverage in June and that the epidemic will be stopped. We are aware that we need to achieve such vaccination practically all over Europe and all over the planet, so that the virus will not circulate further and mutate, thus endangering those who will achieve vaccination at this time. Here we share efforts within the EU to increase the supply of vaccines, to start seriously demonstrating at this crucial and strategic point that Europe is aware of the importance of strategic sovereignty which is linked to vaccines,” said the Prime Minister, adding that the strategic sovereignty at the beginning of the pandemic was tied to protective equipment which we had to import from elsewhere, and that the traditional sovereignty is tied to energy, and therefore we share the concerns about the second current described by the Polish Prime Minister.
“In the future, we share closer cooperation in the field of culture, science, art, education. We share the same values, values that led us to join in the EU and NATO, where we committed ourselves to defending these common values together,” said Prime Minister Janez Janša, who invited his Polish colleague to pay an official visit to Slovenia.
Prime Minister Janez Janša will also meet with the President of the Polish Parliament or Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland Elżbieta Witek. Likewise, he will meet with the Vice Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Jaroslaw Kaczyński.
During his visit to Poland, the Prime Minister will also lay a wreath at the monument dedicated to the Home Army and the Polish Underground State and at the tomb of an unknown soldier. Similarly, he will lay an ikebana at the monument to former Polish President Lech Kaczyński, who died in the plane crash in Smolensk.
Source: Government of RS