Govor Veleposlanice Jadranka Šturm Kocjan na konferenci FORBES
Udeležba VP Šturm Kocjan na konfereci FORBES
Distinguished guests, esteemed ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,
I would like to thank the organizers for the invitation to the first edition of Forbes CEE Forum. I believe it is important to present our ideas, reveal our beliefs and show our support, to the countries of the region which are currently facing not only cumbersome economic situation /in which they are not alone, if I might add/, but also a crisis, which represents a threat to peace and territorial integrity.
Slovenia reiterates its unequivocal support for the European perspective of the region. Enlargement means bringing peace, prosperity and stability to the region. Slovenia, as a neighbouring country is especially active at the Western Balkans. As being aware of the co-dependence with the situation in the region, our relations with Western Balkans are characterized by amicability, willingness to offer assistance, and a sincere wish to contribute to the stability, progress as well as economic and social development of countries that share part of our history, cultural and linguistic roots.
Slovenia is and will remain strongly engaged in the region of Western Balkans. We tend to speak up when we recognize the issues that deserve wider attention, we are involved in regional cooperation, we pass on our experiences and knowledge and we react when we believe there is a need for wider support – in July this year, together with France and the European Commission, we organized international Donor Conference for flood affected areas of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina that raised 1 billion and 800 million euros.
A general overview shows that the Western Balkans is developing and drawing tangibly closer to the European Union. While firmly stressing the need to meet the standards and criteria set by the EU we also believe that constant dynamics of the process is, and must remain, in the EU's interest. When the conditions are met, the EU needs to respond as this contributes to the Union's credibility, and consolidation of Europe as a whole. From the side of Slovenia we are convinced that the EU progress and EU engagement are bringing positive results and benefits for the aspirant countries as well as for the EU.
With believe that enlargement process represents a great opportunity for the Western Balkan countries Slovenia (together with Croatia) in 2010 launched Brdo process. Main purpose of Brdo process is re-establishing thrust and stimulating and accelerating regional cooperation. We are glad that Brdo process broke new ground and, with the help of France and also Germany, managed to create an important political process.
However, it is time that cooperation between EU in countries in the region makes another step. Namely, within the regional cooperation and dialogue between EU and the region, we should also include candidate and potential candidate countries in our (EU) strategic plans in the field of energy, transport, environment, etc. We should invite candidate countries to take part in debates about the future projects, future of Europe and future of the EU and as far as possible be included in Sustainable Development Post 2015 Agenda. This future is common to all of us, members and future members of the EU, is global concern of all of us.
We (EU) should give candidate countries a proper orientation and clear message that they are on proper track. We have to put fundamentals first, keeping the process strict but fair; focusing on values and principles of democracy.
In the area of Eastern Europe Slovenia considers the Eastern Partnership to be a tool of modernization and democratization of those countries, which seek closer cooperation with the EU.
Recent AA/DCFTA (Association agreement and Deep and comprehensive free trade agreement) agreements signed with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are major achievements of EaP policy.
However, due to recent developments in the region, the EU should reflect on the future of EaP. The question of a clearer perspective for Eastern Partnership countries should be seriously addressed. At the same time we need to ensure that Eastern partners are not forced to decide on either moving closer to the EU or to Russia. Antagonisms have never proved to be the driving force for positive change.
Regarding the future of EaP, further actions in the sphere of people-to-people contacts should be undertaken, support for the civil society, strengthening and developing the multilateral dimension of the EaP. There is also the need for better EaP visibility.
Slovenia has good and close relations with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and supports their efforts for democratic reforms and rapprochement with the EU. We highlight the importance of regional dialogue to overcome the challenges in the region (frozen conflicts, relations with Russian Federation etc.).
Ladies and gentleman,
As I repeatedly pointed out, enlargement among also means bring peace. Throughout the history region has been area of conflicts and different interests. This demonstrates the importance of regional cooperation and good neighborly relations in overcoming the region's historical legacies.
The recent NATO Summit in Wales indicated once again that we have to be responsive to series of new threats and security challenges. Despite them – or maybe just because of them - NATO has to finish the "unfinished business" in the Western Balkans.
We have to be aware that enlargement is a two-way process. NATO has an Open Door Policy to which it remains committed. For the aspirants, on the other hand, there are no short-cuts on the road to Euro-Atlantic integration and the journey can sometimes be painful. It demands a constant commitment to the values that NATO stands for and the political courage to assume necessary responsibilities. In this sense, when it comes to joining NATO, it is good to remember that the journey itself is just as important as the final goal.
Slovenian position is clear. NATO has been the guarantor of stability in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe and the perspective of Euro-Atlantic integration has proven to be the most effective incentive for reform. Moreover, the three countries of the Western Balkans (MK, ČG in BIH) and candidate countries of Eastern Europe are important contributors to Euro-Atlantic stability, also as exporters of security in their own right.
As the NATO Contact Point country for Montenegro, Slovenia is especially pleased with the progress achieved. Montenegro's achievements were recognized at the NATO June Ministerial meeting. This also reflects the letter and the spirit of the Open Door Policy, which is a merit-based process. There is only one remaining issue related to the aspirations of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – the name issue. The Bucharest decision remains valid and relevant and we hope a mutually acceptable solution would be found rather sooner than later.
We would like to encourage Bosnia and Herzegovina to start delivering on the Tallinn condition that will enable it to start the Membership Action Plan process. We hope that the new Government will spare no effort in registering immovable military property.
Let me conclude by underlining that future of the region is in cooperation with EU in NATO in order to insure peace, stability and prosperity. A stronger relationship among allies and partners will bring further strength to the European Union. Hoverer further development of partnership shouldn't be self-evident, it should base on »more for more« principle, development and efforts. I believe it's a proper time to put ideas into actions in order to serve people.