Pahor to Visit Bosnia-Herzegovina for the Sarajevo Business Forum (Background)

By , 24 Apr 2018, 16:13 PM News
Pahor to Visit Bosnia-Herzegovina for the Sarajevo Business Forum (Background) President Pahor's Instagram

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STA, 24 April 2018 – President Borut Pahor will pay a working visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday and Thursday to take part in the Sarajevo Business Forum along with Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. Pahor will also meet all three members of the country's presidency. 

The visit, initiated by the Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency Bakir Izetbegović, is a continuation of the political dialogue between the two countries, Pahor's office said in a press release.

During his stay, Pahor will meet all three members of the country's presidency - Izetbegović, Mladen Ivanić and Dragan Čović - to discuss bilateral relations and exchange views on the current situation in the Western Balkans.

According to the president's office, the visit will be an opportunity for the president to be briefed on the implementation of key reforms in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the context of its efforts to join the EU and NATO, and the political situation in the country ahead of the autumn general election.

Pahor reportedly wants to have an open conversation on the future of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is crucial for the peace and security of the Western Balkans.

According to the president's office, reconciliation is a prerequisite for the reforms which the EU demands of Bosnia. Brussels should take into consideration the specifics of the Western Balkan countries, especially Bosnia, the office said.

Bosnia and Kosovo were listed as the countries making the slowest progress in the EU's recent assessment of the Western Balkan countries' progress on the way to the EU. But the door of the bloc remains open.

Bosnia applied for EU membership two years ago but it is not expected to get the status of a candidate before next year.

The country expects a report on the progress regarding its efforts to join NATO before the alliance's July summit.

Slovenia's relations with Bosnia have traditionally been good, as it has been supporting Bosnia's efforts to join the EU and NATO both politically and in practice, as Slovenian experts have been sharing their know-how and experience with Bosnian counterparts for years.

Slovenia has been an active supporter of the Euro-Atlantic enlargement process, because it is in the country's strategic interest, Pahor's office said.

Pahor will also be the keynote speaker at the Sarajevo Business Forum, the largest investment conference in SE Europe, which is seen as a confirmation of the very good business relations.

Trade between Slovenia and Bosnia has been booming in recent years, reaching a new record in 2017 - EUR 1.25bn, up EUR 138m or 12% from 2016.

Last year, Bosnia was Slovenia's 11th most important trade partner, having contributed 2.3% to its total foreign trade.

There are currently more than 100 Slovenian-owned companies in Bosnia, employing 15,000 Bosnian citizens. Many of them are top exporters, which significantly affects the country's macroeconomic indicators.

The Sarajevo Business Forum, hosted by the Bosna Bank International, will also be attended by the Slovenian economy minister, Zdravko Počivalšek, and Foreign Ministry State Secretary Iztok Mirošič, who will participate as panellists.

Pahor will continue promoting regional cooperation on Friday in Skopje, where he will host together with his Croatian and Macedonian counterparts a summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, featuring EU Council President Donald Tusk.

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