STA, 25 June 2021 - The prime ministers of Austria, Croatia and Hungary, the foreign minister of Italy, and the president of the European Council congratulated Slovenia on the 30th anniversary of its independence and wished it a successful stint at the helm of the EU as they addressed the Statehood Day celebration on Friday.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Slovenia was an important neighbour and economic partner of Austria's that cannot be imagined not being part of the European space.
He said Austria was looking forward to Slovenia's EU presidency and thanked Prime Minister Janez Janša for making Western Balkans among the focal points of the presidency.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković wished Slovenia all the best in presiding the EU, pleased that he could count on the know-how, creativity, patriotism and European character of the country.
Wishing that it makes a substantive contribution to the future of Europe, he said Slovenia could "always rely on Croatia as a friend and partner".
#Slovenia30 | ?? FM Augusto Santos Silva gifted an astrolabe to PM @JJansaSDS:— EU2021SI (@EU2021SI) June 25, 2021
"Many challenges await you in the next semester. So may the Portuguese astrolabe be of help to you, guiding Slovenia on its path to the Presidency. We wish you a good presidency." pic.twitter.com/h6svstlZ6e
Ich danke @JJansaSDS für die Einladung heute nach Ljubljana zu den Feierlichkeiten zu 30 Jahren Unabhängigkeit #Sloweniens! Das war ein bewegender Moment für mich. Von der ersten Stunde an haben wir die Unabhängigkeitsbestrebungen von Slowenien unterstützt. pic.twitter.com/dtDea3JWxS— Sebastian Kurz (@sebastiankurz) June 25, 2021
?? i ?? učvršćuju prijateljske i dobrosusjedske odnose te partnersku suradnju u ?? i NATO-u. Svim Slovenkama i Slovencima čestitam Dan državnosti i želim uspješno predsjedanje ??! Vsem Slovenkam in Slovencem iz srca čestitam Dan državnosti in to pomembno obletnico! pic.twitter.com/IIBywv6vNM— Andrej Plenković (@AndrejPlenkovic) June 25, 2021
Things that separate the two countries are insignificant compared to what they have in common, he said, noting that Slovenia and Croatia understood best what went on in this region thirty years ago.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban likewise emphasised the close ties between the two countries. "Hungarians see you as friends and Christian brothers. Hungarians are happy to be your neighbours," he said.
Orban said that the stronger, wealthier and happier Slovenia is, the better this is for Hungary.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio said Slovenia and Italy had very friendly relations, "in particular because we share the same values, which stem from and converge into our common membership of the EU and NATO."
Di Maio expressed Italy's support for Slovenia's presidency, noting that its second stint at the helm of the EU represented a new era on the path of liberty and democracy that Slovenia entered thirty years ago.
"we have strong confidence in Slovenia's ability to lead the EU in this sensitive time."
European Council President Charles Michel said he was proud and moved to be able to stand next to the Slovenian and EU flag and say happy birthday Slovenia and usher in the Slovenian presidency.
He said the European project was based on the values of democracy, freedom and rule of law, noting that diversity, tolerance and respect were Europe's powers