Pahor Meets the Queen, UK Visit Continues Friday

By , 28 Feb 2019, 16:56 PM Politics
Queen Elizabeth II and President Borut Pahor Queen Elizabeth II and President Borut Pahor President Pahor's Twitter

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STA, 28 February 2019 - President Borut Pahor was received by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Thursday in what is considered the highlight of his official visit to the UK. The conversation with the queen was longer than had been expected, according to Pahor's office.

Pahor said the queen had been extremely friendly and very much focussed on the talks, telling TV Slovenija that he was surprised by how well informed she was. "Substantively the talks were much richer than I would have expected."

Even though the monarch does not take sides on political issues, Pahor said she did this time, and she induced him to share his views on issues that concern her.

Pahor started the second day of his official visit to the UK by laying a wreath to the memorial to innocent victims of war and oppression in front of Westminster Abbey. He then went on a tour of the 11th century abbey, which is one of the best known religious buildings in Europe.

He also met several British MPs and lords, including Labour MP Paul Farrelly, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary British-Slovenia Group, and Lord Speaker Norman Fowler.

The talks focussed on Britain's exit from the EU, which is planned for 29 March, although the divorce process may be extended.

Pahor told TV Slovenija he had been acquainted with a variety of views on Brexit, noting that his wish was to express support for those who are looking for solutions that benefit London as well as Brussels and Ljubljana.

"It is probably not possible to find a solution that will be good just for one side, such a solution would not be sustainable," he said.

Pahor said it was in Slovenia's interest to find a solution that will enjoy the support of the British Parliament and Ireland, whereby it may not divide the EU. "Chaotic exit from the EU is a danger for both sides, for Great Britain and EU countries."

A no-deal Brexit could prove problematic for an estimated 5,000 Slovenians living in the UK. Pahor will meet some of them at a reception hosted by Slovenia's Ambassador Tadej Rupel in the evening.

On the final day of his visit, on Friday, Pahor will visit the City to ring the bell of the London Stock Exchange and meet financiers at Goldman Sachs. He will also meet Lord Mayor of the City of London Peter Estlin and expectedly also British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Pahor started the visit on Wednesday by meeting Prince Edward and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Pahor and Hunt praised the relations between Slovenia and the UK as very good, with Pahor saying that Slovenia had "genuine interest" for the bilateral relations to strengthen also after Brexit.

The talks with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, focussed on the the Duke of Edinburgh's award for young people as part of the MEPI programme. The awards are annually conferred in Slovenia as well.

According to Pahor's office, Prince Edward, who visited Slovenia in 2013 with his wife Sophie, accepted Pahor's invitation to visit Slovenia again soon.

 All our stories on Slovenia and the UK can be found here

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