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Prime Minister Janez Janša: We Share the Same Values as Poland, Which Bind Us in the EU and NATO Where We Have Pledged to Defend These Joint Values Together!

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, cooperation of the two parliaments 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.

As part of his visit to Poland, 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, when regular international visits are much more difficult to organise, and when, despite dealing with an epidemic, we are obliged to take care of all the other things without which life does not go on as it should.

“I think this is my fourth visit to Warsaw as the Slovenian Prime Minister and always when I arrive here, I see great progress and development and I congratulate you on it. For almost 40 years of my life, I have been following and examining recent Polish history with great interest, especially because the courage of the Polish people at the time of suffering, resistance and the fight for freedom against Nazism and Communism, still inspires present and future generations, and because the fight for freedom and democratisation, through the Solidarity movement in the 1980s, also greatly inspired the Slovenian spring, on the basis of which Slovenia attained its parliamentary system, democratisation and later its sovereignty and independence,” stated the Prime Minister. He further noted that his visit today was 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 such friends, especially because we see Poland as having one of the most dynamic economies in Europe, a country with substantial economic growth and low unemployment, which is rapidly increasing the welfare of its citizens, and as a country which takes its commitment to work for the common good very seriously and can set an example to many others,” highlighted Prime Minister Janša. According to the Slovenian Prime Minister, Poland went through certain periods in the past which resemble those experienced by the Slovenian people and we thus understand each other better.

“I congratulate the Prime Minister for successfully battling the epidemic last year. Poland had one of the lowest drops in GDP in the developed world at the time of the epidemic and in that period, particularly during the first wave, it also helped Slovenia and we thank you for that as well. Slovenia was forming a new government at the onset of the epidemic and was not prepared for it. Many Slovenians were abroad at the time and hundreds of them were able to return home with Poland’s help,” said the Prime Minister and recalled the visit of the military medical team that happened exactly one year ago and the establishment of cooperation in the form of exchange of experience in the fight against the epidemic.

Economic cooperation between Poland and Slovenia is very well developed “Economic cooperation is well developed between Poland and Slovenia. From the viewpoint of Slovenian GDP, trade in goods is high, as it amounts to approximately 2 billion euros, and it remained almost at the same level in 2020 despite the epidemic. It only decreased by one per cent,” explained Prime Minister Janša, adding that the discussions between both prime ministers also included the investments of Slovenian and Polish companies in each other’s economies. “The Slovenian Government is trying to make our economic and social environment significantly friendlier for foreign investment and I have informed the Polish Prime Minister of these efforts,” said Prime Minister Janša.

Another topic of the discussion was the review of Slovenia’s preparations for the presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021. “There are three main priorities. One is the preparation of Europe for potential threats which are, as we have seen in recent times, very realistic, especially regarding the epidemic. From this aspect, greater resilience and preparedness for potential new epidemics are some of the first priorities and we will largely focus on this during our presidency of the EU Council,” explained the Prime Minister. The second priority was cybersecurity, he continued. “This is a real threat that the majority of Europeans are not aware of, but it is something that certainly increases the integration of our efforts within the EU and NATO because no individual country within the EU is strong enough to effectively ward off such potential threats,” said Prime Minister Janša.

He further emphasised that the Conference on the Future of Europe would also take place during the Slovenian Presidency of the EU Council. “Slovenia wishes for the debate to take place without value monopolies, and in a way in which all views on the future of Europe can be expressed and no one is excluded. Where a synthesis will be made, and we can determine together that the EU can be strong with strong Member States. The attempts to weaken individual Member States do not contribute to the empowerment but, on the contrary, sap the energy needed to confront strategic challenges,” Prime Minister Janša pointed out.

We consider Poland to be a country that abides by the rule of law “During the talks, we also touched on discussions about the rule of law. I can most emphatically state that we consider Poland to be a country that abides by the rule of law. This is a country with a dynamic and solid democracy for which it had to fight hard and make great sacrifices, and sometimes it is difficult to listen to some people, including a few in Slovenia, who were born into prosperity but preach about democracy and human rights when they have not sacrificed anything for those causes,” said Prime Minister Janša.

The prime ministers also exchanged their views on the situation in the Eastern EU. “I express solidarity with Poland relating to the arrest of Polish activists in Belarus and firmly condemn the measures against the Union of Poles in Belarus. We also share a common concern due to Russia’s activities and can say that these are certainly not compliant with the established international principles and norms. I further express solidarity with our Czech colleagues who are currently under threat relating to their diplomatic representation in Moscow,” said the Slovenian guest.

Prime Minister Janša expressed satisfaction that the air connection between Warsaw and Ljubljana would be restored on the 1st of May. “We look forward to the visits from our Polish friends. Slovenia is striving for a smooth summer tourism season. We expect sufficient vaccination coverage will be attained in June so that the epidemic can be contained. We are aware that such vaccination coverage must be reached practically throughout Europe and the rest of the world for the virus to stop spreading and mutating, thus endangering those who will attain vaccination coverage during this time. We share the efforts within the EU to increase the supply of vaccines in order to seriously prove at this point, which is pivotal and strategic, that Europe is aware of the significance of strategic sovereignty linked to the vaccines,” said the Prime Minister and continued that strategic sovereignty at the onset of the pandemic was related to protective equipment that had to be imported from elsewhere, while traditional sovereignty is linked to energy and therefore we share Poland’s concerns about Nord Stream 2, as described by the Polish Prime Minister.

“In the future, we will strive for closer cooperation in the fields of culture, science, art and education. We share the same values, which have bound us together in the EU and NATO where we have pledged to defend these joint values together,” explained Prime Minister Janez Janša and invited his Polish counterpart to make an official visit to Slovenia.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Janša also met with Elżbieta Witek, President of the Polish Parliament or Marshal of the Sejm, and Jarosław Kaczyński, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland.

During his visit to Poland, the Slovenian Prime Minister will also lay wreaths at the Monument to the Polish Underground State and Home Army and at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He will also place a flower arrangement at the monument of the late President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, who died in the Smoleńsk air disaster.

Government Communication Office

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