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Press release

PM Marjan Šarec on working visit to Austria

Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec was in Austria today on a working visit. A meeting and working lunch with his host, Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, was followed by a reception with the Federal President of Austria, Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen. 

  

In the second half of 2018, Austria has held the Presidency of the EU Council, so talks with Chancellor Kurz centred on current European topics which leaders will address at the European Council meeting in the coming week, particularly the issue of migration and asylum policy, the future of the Schengen system and also Brexit and the multiannual financial framework. At the same time Prime Minister Šarec welcomed the efforts of Austria’s EU Presidency towards resolving these challenging issues. Regarding migrants, the Prime Minister reiterated the urgent need for a common EU response, and in this he highlighted the importance of dealing with the problem at its source, and of efforts towards more effective control of the European Union’s external border. In this light he added that there are no objective reasons for control of the internal border between Slovenia and Austria, and advocated the earliest possible restoration of full implementation of the Schengen system.

  

The two heads of government agreed that it was in the interest of the entire EU for there to be an agreement as soon as possible with the UK regarding its departure from the European Union and then to establish comprehensive and ambitious cooperation. 

  

Regarding the multiannual financial framework, the two agreed that an agreement must be reached as soon as possible, and in any event in 2019. Here they expressed a commitment to closer cooperation, especially on the issue of strengthening rural development policy.

  

They also exchanged views on the situation in the Western Balkans. They shared the assessment that an active approach is needed to contribute to conditions that would facilitate addressing unresolved issues in the Western Balkans. They are committed to further support for including the region in the EU, while they also highlighted the importance of candidate countries meeting the conditions, and at the same time of credible enlargement prospects. 

  

In respect of bilateral relations between the neighbouring countries, the two agreed that the countries enjoy excellent relations, especially in the economic and cultural spheres, which are reflected in intensive dialogue on several levels. The two leaders especially welcomed the fact that merchandise trade between the two countries has exceeded EUR 5 billion, and has recorded a strong 9-percent growth, and here they advocate further promotion of good economic cooperation. 

  

The talks also covered the Slovenian ethnic community in Austria, where the Prime Minister gave an assessment that in recent years considerable progress had been made, while pointing out that Slovenia recognises the Slovenian ethnic community in Carinthia and Styria as an important link with the neighbouring country. Here he expressed the expectation that the Austrian Government will fulfil its commitments regarding increased funding of minority organisations. 

  

Prime Minister Marjan Šarec was also received by Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, with whom he exchanged views on the future of the EU, and the Austrian President expressed satisfaction at the good cooperation between the two countries.