Review by Christos T. Panagopoulos –
FYROM’s Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski will pay an official visit to Slovenia on Wednesday for talks on bilateral cooperation, the situation in the Western Balkans and his country’s EU integration efforts with senior Slovenian officials.
As part of his visit, Gruevski is scheduled to meet his Slovenian counterpart Alenka Bratušek, President Borut Pahor and parliamentary Speaker Janko Veber. The meeting of the two prime ministers at Brdo Mansion will be followed by a statement to the press.
This is the second visit to Slovenia by the leader of the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, who has headed the government since 2006. Gruevski was in Slovenia also in 2009.
The countries have no open issues, and Slovenia supports FYROM in its efforts to join the EU and NATO, also as part of efforts for stabilisation of the Western Balkans.
The country has been waiting for years to become a member of both organisations mainly because of the dispute with Greece over its name. It failed to get an invitation to NATO at the latest summit in Chicago in 2012.
FYROM was given the candidate country status in December 2005, but there is still not date for the start of EU accession talks, although the European Commission assessed in October that the country has met all conditions.
Trade between Slovenia and FYROM is growing. Last year it amounted to EUR 189m, while in the first half of 2013 it stood at EUR 106m, which represents 16% growth at the annual level. FYROM ranked as the 30th biggest trade partner for Slovenia last year.
The countries have had frequent contacts in recent years, with President Pahor visiting Skopje in July and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec paying a visit in April. Pahor also visited the country in the capacity of prime minister in January 2010.
Source: Slovenia Times