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Third meeting of the Slovenia-Friuli-Venezia Giulia Joint Committee

Trieste, 19 January 2018 – Representatives of Slovenia and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region met in Trieste on 19 January 2018 for the 3rd meeting of the Slovenia-Friuli-Venezia Giulia Joint Committee, which is co-chaired by the Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Karl Erjavec, and the President of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region, Debora Serracchiani. The meeting produced the Joint Statement adopted by the two sides.
 
For Slovenia, positive relations and cooperation with Friuli-Venezia Giulia are highly important. Regional cooperation is a powerful tool for consolidating links with Italy, while the EU membership of both countries opens up additional possibilities for cooperation. The national communities on both sides of the border are also important in such cooperation.
 
Before the plenary meeting of the Joint Committee, Minister Erjavec met President Serracchiani. Minister Erjavec pointed to the substantial progress in cooperation between Slovenia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in recent years, which was given strong impetus in 2015, after the Minister and President Serracchiani proposed the establishment of the Joint Committee. In 2016, trade between Slovenia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia amounted to EUR 770 million and increased by 20% in the first half of 2017.

 

The Minister also stressed the importance of preserving the representation of the Slovenian national community in the Italian Parliament following the elections on 4 March, as well as ongoing support for the full operation of the Slovene Language Office and for the use and teaching of the Slovene language.
 
The two interlocutors also touched on cross-border cooperation between Slovenia and Italy within Interreg, with Minister Erjavec expressing satisfaction with the arrangement on the content of the call for applications for strategic projects. They also confirmed and reiterated their opposition to the project of a gas terminal at Žavlje/Aquilinia, which could have a number of negative effects. Additionally, they discussed transport and related activities for improving cross-border public passenger transport, including railway connections between Ljubljana, Trieste and Venice.
 
At the plenary meeting of the Joint Committee, they reviewed cooperation to date and confirmed the arrangement to continue and further enhance cooperation between Slovenia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Both sides will continue to cooperate on transport, energy, environment, spatial planning, agriculture and rural development, economy and tourism, research and innovation, civil protection and disaster relief, health, education, culture and minority issues. The Slovenian side also spoke in favour of extending the Prosecco Protocol.
 
After the meeting, Minister Erjavec thanked the participants for the work done in the period since the last meeting.