Minister Erjavec hosts Montenegrin counterpart Darmanović
Ljubljana, 8 March 2017 – At the invitation of Minister Erjavec, the Montenegrin Foreign Minister, Dr Srđan Darmanović, paid an official visit to Ljubljana today. The frank and constructive talks focused on bilateral relations, Montenegro's imminent membership of NATO, EU enlargement, and Montenegro's progress on its path towards the EU, as well as regional cooperation and the situation in the region.
The ministers commended the excellent relations between the two countries, which have no outstanding issues, and reaffirmed a mutual interest in continuing the positive trends in wide-ranging cooperation. During the talks, Minister Darmanović announced that a monument to France Prešeren is to be erected in Montenegro as a testament to profound respect for shared values, heritage, and creative spirit. "This will not only be a monument to our friendship, but also to the intertwining of cultures and to all that has bound us throughout history and in the present," said the Montenegrin Minister.
A crucial step for Montenegro, the country's membership of NATO, which is expected later this year, and its EU rapprochement were at the heart of the talks. Montenegro has made considerable progress with EU negotiations, with 26 chapters having been opened. The Slovenian side confirmed the country's readiness to provide further support in the form of bilateral technical assistance, involving the help of Slovenian experts with the opening and closing individual negotiating chapters. Minister Darmanović expressed gratitude for Slovenia's invaluable support for, and assistance with, Montenegro's Euro-Atlantic integration.
The positive economic cooperation, which constitutes an important part of bilateral relations, is expected to grow, given the unexplored potential. The forthcoming session of the Mixed Commission on Economic Cooperation, co-chaired by Minister Erjavec, which will be held in Ljubljana on 10 and 11 April, will be a suitable opportunity to enhance cooperation between the two economies. Expressing satisfaction with trade indicators, Minister Erjavec noted the interest of Slovenian companies in investing in Montenegro. He advocated the resolution of certain issues faced by Slovenian companies operating in the Montenegrin market.
The two countries cooperate very well in the domain of development cooperation and also in multilateral settings. Montenegro remains among the programme priorities of Slovenia's development assistance; in the 2008–2017 period, the country was allocated 12 million euros development funds. A number of projects have been implemented in recent years that raise the profile of Slovenia's development assistance. These primarily centre on infrastructure, the environment and the development of high-quality tourism capacities, particularly in the underdeveloped north of the country.
The ministers discussed the situation in the region in greater detail, underscoring the importance of constructive relations with neighbouring countries and good regional cooperation.