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The positions and interests of Slovenia and the Czech Republic are also similar in relation to the future European constitution

Ljubljana, 10/22/2003  |  statement

At the invitation of the Slovene President, Dr Janez Drnovšek, the President of the Czech Republic, Václav Klaus, arrived on a two-day official visit to Slovenia. The Slovene President said in introduction that he was pleased by the visit of Czech President Klaus, with whom he had already forged friendly relations when both were prime ministers. The two countries, which have traditionally good relations, are beginning a new period of cooperation within the European Union and NATO, stressed President Drnovšek, and he advocated close cooperation between the two countries within the aforementioned organisations. The two presidents focused in their talks on an exchange of views in relation to the proposal for the new European constitution. The Czech President acquainted his Slovene counterpart with some opinions put forward in the discussions that are taking place in the Czech Republic in connection with the proposed new constitution. Slovene President Dr Drnovšek characterised the discussions in a public statement (unauthorised transcription)as follows:

President of the Republic Dr Janez Drnovšek: We have very good and wide-ranging relations with the Czech Republic. I can say that they are also very friendly. We have not identified any problems during our contacts. President Klaus and I cooperated some years ago as prime ministers. We had already at that time established exceptionally good cooperation between the countries, which was also strengthened by the process of Slovenia's accession to CEFTA, which was supported in particular by President Klaus. Today, too, we have discussed only successful projects that we have carried out together – membership of the EU and membership of NATO. To a considerable extent, discussion also focused on the future European constitutional treaty, about the future of the EU and I can repeat that here, too, the positions and interests of Slovenia and the Czech Republic are very similar. I also anticipate very close cooperation after accession to membership of the EU and NATO, whereby the two countries will probably often coordinate their positions and try to help each other. Thank you very much.

Journalist: You highlighted that small countries must not be lost in the EU, that is to say, that they must forge links. What sort of alliance should this be: permanent; mutual; with small or with large countries?

Dr. Drnovšek: I don’t think that permanent alliances are wise. It would probably also destroy the meaning of the EU, since it would signify that some part of the whole, which is already linked, is connected between itself and coordinates its positions. I believe that we will often have similar or the same position as mainly small and medium-sized countries. However, it is not necessary that themes will always prevail in which we can have different positions. I see such a possibility mainly in financial questions, where the difference between those who wish, for example, to support agriculture more and those who wish to support agriculture less will be more important. This will not be a division into large and small. Even the general question of the level of development of countries affects the view they have on individual economic questions. Alliances will change, they will not be permanent.

Journalist: I am interested in what significance you ascribe to the Slavic dimension in the enlarged EU?

Dr. Drnovšek: In June, when we met in Prague during working talks, we discussed a Forum for Slavic Cultures, which we are trying to found in Ljubljana. This is not a political Slavic grouping, but a matter of establishing and furthering as much as possible the component of Slavic culture in the future.
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