|The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, and his wife, Barbara Miklič Türk, arrived on an official visit to the Slovak Republic, where they were received by the President of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Gašparovič, and his wife, Silvia Gašparovičová. After being conferred with military honours, the two presidential couples had a brief meeting, followed by plenary talks between the delegations of the Slovak Republic and the Republic of Slovenia, led by their respective presidents. President Türk was accompanied by Božo Cerar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a delegation of 30 Slovenian business representatives.|
|By way of introduction, President Ivan Gašparovič expressed his satisfaction and delight with the Slovenian President's official visit to his country. He underlined that bilateral relations between the two countries are excellent, but that there is still room to strengthen them further. In addition to a developed political dialogue at all levels, there is potential for enhancing cooperation in the fields of culture, education and science, and particular attention should be devoted to the promotion of mutual investments, President Gašparovič explained. He also said that he and President Türk had also discussed some specific economic projects. He also touched on the reconstruction of the Slovak motorway and railway network, for which the Slovenian company, Izoterm Plama, has expressed an interest in becoming a potential investor.|
|President Türk thanked the Slovak President for the hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. President Türk agreed that the two countries have excellent mutual relations and an in-depth understanding of topical international issues and other matters that need to be dealt by the two countries alone. In his view, economic cooperation between the two countries has been developing well, as trade volumes rose by 10% during the past year. The Port of Koper, which provides services to Central European countries, including Slovakia, has also been gaining importance and now ranks third in terms of the Port of Koper's trans-shipment volumes. President Türk agreed that more intense development is required in the area of mutual investment, which will also feature on the agenda at today's Slovak-Slovenian business conference in Bratislava. |
|President Gašparovič also stressed the importance of cooperation in dealing with the problem of growing unemployment, which is a particularly pressing concern among young people. In his opinion, this problem – which is also faced by other EU Member States – should be addressed by target-oriented education and international student exchanges. President Türk agreed that this was a priority issue. He highlighted new initiatives for strengthening economic growth, which should accompany the current fiscal stability efforts, and are a prerequisite for resolving the problem of unemployment.|
|The Slovak President stressed that the two countries advocate a strong European Union and eurozone, and that they do not favour a two-speed Europe. In his words, one of the major issues faced by the EU is the continuation of the enlargement process. In this respect, the two presidents expressed their support for the accession of Western Balkan countries to the EU. He added that he had also discussed with President Türk the preparations underway for the forthcoming NATO Summit in Chicago – the topic for discussion at the Global Security Forum, GLOBSEC 2012 – which will take place tomorrow in the Slovak capital and will be attended by both presidents.|
President Türk also expressed his attachment to the principle of a strong European Union and eurozone, which Slovenia will champion in the EU's institutions, as well as for the consistent and responsible implementation of tasks agreed at the EU level. He also expressed his full agreement with the need for the further enlargement of the EU. He expressed his delight at Croatia's forthcoming accession to the EU, and stressed that Slovenia sees the enlargement process as vital for the EU's future.
|The Slovak and Slovenian Presidents then attended the Slovak-Slovenian Business Conference, where they both addressed an audience made up of business representatives from the two countries.|
In his address, President Türk focused on the possibilities of strengthening economic cooperation between Slovenia and Slovakia. He highlighted logistics, the automotive industry, information technology, electronics, agroindustry, health services and tourism as the most promising areas of cooperation.
|In the afternoon, President Türk attended a working lunch with the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Robert Fico, and a Slovak government delegation, which also included the Slovak Foreign Minister, Miroslav Lajčák. The discussions focused on issues concerning fiscal consolidation, the reduction of budget deficits and possible solutions, as well as on methods of conducting social dialogue aimed at achieving sound and sustainable solutions. The participants in the discussion drew particular attention to the social and political sensitivity of these issues and the concern for people with minimum income. The Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, explained that the Slovak Government's intention is to abandon the single tax rate once it has served its purpose. The topics discussed also included international issues, particularly the further enlargement of the EU and relations between the EU and Russia. |
|President Türk then also met with the President of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Pavel Paško. Mr Paško explained that the Slovak Parliament had only recently been constituted, and that it would debate the confidence motion in the new government. His discussions with President Türk focused mainly on fiscal consolidation and legislative issues concerning employment relations. They also touched upon the issue of inter-parliamentary cooperation and expressed their commitment to enhancing direct and intensive communication between the parliaments of the two countries.|