STA, 10 December 2018 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, speaking after an EU ministerial in Brussels on Monday, said the EU should respond to positive change in the Western Balkans with very concrete acts or else it risked losing the region geo-strategically.
Cerar said positive shifts could be noticed in the Western Balkans at the end of 2018, inspiring hope the region's integration into the EU could continue successfully if countries meet all the criteria.
He believes it is vital for the EU to intensively continue to integrate the region, since countries such as Russia, Turkey and China are interested in it.
"The EU is the best guarantee of Europe's stability. Countries from the region should be integrated as soon as possible, as soon as they have implemented the reforms, or else this part of Europe will be lost to us geo-strategically, which would be a major loss for our European family."
He also pointed to Slovenia's two positive initiatives for the region: an integrated border control management system, which has facilitated a shift towards better coordination in fighting crime, and an agenda for the youth.
Cerar also said the EU should do all in its power so that Serbia and Kosovo reach a comprehensive agreement solving all open issues and having no negative consequences for the broader region.
He expects the EU to decide to launch accession negotiations for Macedonia and Albania in June 2019. He believes this must be done especially if the Macedonia name agreement is implemented.
Tension with Russia in the region
Ukraine, or the escalation of tensions with Russia, was also on the EU foreign ministers' agenda, but despite calls by visiting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin to impose new sanctions on Russia and provide more financial aid to Ukraine, no such decision was taken.
"We did not explicitly discuss introducing new sanctions," said Cerar.
"It's now important to exert constant, decisive and unified pressure on Russia to release the arrested members of the crew and return the ship to Ukraine, and allow the freedom of navigation," he said in reference to the latest escalation of tensions in the Azov Sea.
Cerar believes there should be no need to make the sanctions more severe if Russia acted quickly to eliminate the latest violations of international law. In the opposite case, potential new or additional sanctions would probably be discussed sooner or later.
At the moment the EU hopes for some progress to be made at Tuesday's Berlin meeting of the Normandy contact group, which brings together Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.
The EU is meanwhile expected to decide at a summit this week whether to extend the sanctions against Russia which expire on 31 January. Cerar believes they will be extended.
STA, 6 November - Slovenia's major strategic asset in relation to China is its geo-strategic position or access to a 500-million European marker, Zdravko Počivalšek, the minister of economic development and technology, said during a visit to China, where he is presenting Slovenia's business and investment environment.
"Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe, which gives us access to a 500-million market," Počivalšek said as he visited the Slovenian Consulate in Shanghai Tuesday.
Pointing to a well-developed infrastructure, Počivalšek was quoted by his ministry as saying that to unlock the potential presented by the geo-strategic location, some improvements would be needed.
The minister, who is China for the China International Import Expo fair, praised the good political relations between Slovenia and China, the country's biggest trade partner outside Europe.
He stressed that as part of the 16+1 initiative, which brings together Central and East European countries plus China, the two countries had managed to boost economic cooperation to top 1.2 billion euro.
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"Over the past few years, we've managed to attract a number of well-known investors to Slovenia, which proves we have a truly encouraging business environment.
"I believe investing in Slovenia can also be an important opportunity for Chinese companies, particularly in infrastructure and tourism, which I've presented to my Chinese counterparts," said Počivalšek, who met several ministers in charge of the economy, including Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and his deputy Fu Ziying.
Počivalšek also met on Sunday his counterpart from the United Arab Emirates, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, to discuss Slovenia's participation in Expo 2020 in Dubai, and Austrian Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck.
Meanwhile, State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti attended Monday's promotion of Chinese-owned Slovenian home appliances maker Gorenje's premium products in Beijing. The ministry believes this proves that Slovenian companies have a major impact in China.
The aim of the Slovenian delegation visiting China during the fair, which features 3,000 companies from 130 countries, is to strengthen economic relations with China, including in tourism, and intensify Slovenia's role within the Silk Road initiative.
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STA, 5 November 2018 - Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek is leading a Slovenian delegation to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) fair in Shanghai, which features 3,000 companies from 130 countries.
The ministry said the visit was designed to boost trade ties with China, enhance Slovenia's role in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), present measures to potential investors and boost cooperation in tourism.
The biggest BRI event this year, CIIE provides the platform to showcase a broad range of goods, services and industries. It is expected to attract more than 150,000 Chinese customers.
The fair is aimed at supporting liberalisation and globalisation of international trade and at opening up the Chinese market.
The participating Slovenian companies and institutions will showcase the country's potential as an innovative high-tech partner for winter sports.
The Slovenian delegation was invited to the fair by the Chinese Ministry of Trade after China recognised Slovenia as a potential partner in the runup to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
The Nordic Centre in Slovenia's Planica has been selected as the European training camp of the Chinese men's ski jumping team.
In August this year, the Ljubljana Faculty of Sport and Beijing Sport University signed a memorandum on academic and scientific cooperation in winter sports.
In the first joint activity spurred by the memorandum, a bilateral forum on development of winter sports will be held in Beijing on 7 November.
The forum is based on a 2016 agreement on cooperation in sports signed by the respective ministries.
While in China, Počivalšek is due to hold bilateral meetings with Chinese government officials, to brief them on the state of Slovenia's economy and discuss bilateral cooperation in trade and investment.
The focus will be on cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative and ways to boost trade, also through new forms of cooperation. The minister will also present the investment environment in Slovenia.
STA, 22 September 2018 - Gorenje chairman Franjo Bobinac has told the newspaper Večer that after the takeover by China's Hisense, the household appliance maker remains a Slovenian company with headquarters in Velenje. He said that Hisense had great plans about growth of Gorenje, which meant a bigger production capacity and more jobs.
STA, 20 September 2018 - Participants of a three-day meeting of ministers and state secretaries from China and Central and Eastern European countries, including Economy Ministry State Secretary Eva Štravs Podlogar, agreed that the Chinese tourism market was very important for CE Europe, including Slovenia.
STA, 18 September 2018 - Slovenian economists have told the STA that the trade dispute between the US and China could, with new tariffs, hurt export-oriented European economies due to a potential drop in volume of global trade, adding that Slovenia could also feel the negative consequences indirectly.
From August 16 until February 15, 2019 visitors to Ljubljana will have a chance to see a collection of gold items from the Imperial Treasury of the Ming dynasty, from the reign of the Wanli Emperor (1573–1620), which rarely leave Beijing and are being shown in Slovenia for the first time.
STA, 16 August 2018 - The Velenje-based household appliances maker Gorenje, which is in 95% ownership of China's Hisense, expanded its management board on Thursday with six representatives of the owner, with Franjo Bobinac staying at the helm of the management board. Hisense also announced to withdraw Gorenje from the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.
STA, 7 August 2018 - The European Commission approved the acquisition of Slovenian household manufacturer Gorenje by China's Hisense Group on Tuesday, finding the takeover would raise no competition concerns.