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NEWS

7. 7. 2017

Fourth meeting of the Slovenia-Carinthia Joint Committee

Klagenfurt, 5 July 2017 – Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and the Governor of Carinthia, Dr Peter Kaiser, co-chaired the fourth meeting of the Slovenia-Carinthia Joint Committee. At the meeting, cooperation in individual fields so far was reviewed and content for further cooperation was proposed. The cooperation was further enhanced and extended after last year’s meeting. On the margins of the meeting, the Minister and Governor also had a bilateral meeting in which they paid particular attention to the situation of the autochthonous Slovenian minority in Carinthia. At the beginning of today's visit to Klagenfurt, Minister met with representatives of the minority.

 

Before the plenary session, three separate working groups of the Joint Committee discussed the economy, culture and rural development, as well as spatial integration and contacts between people. Representatives of Slovenia and Carinthia reviewed current cooperation in individual fields and proposed the content for further cooperation. The reports of working groups were then presented at the plenary session.


At the beginning of the meeting, Minister Erjavec emphasised that the "Joint Committee's work with specific projects of cooperation is important for building trust between Slovenia and Carinthia, in which the Slovenian minority plays an important role, since it is an important part of Carinthian cultural, social and economic reality". He expressed the opinion that economic cooperation between Slovenia and Carinthia is developing positively. Slovenia and Carinthia are important trade partners, with bilateral trade standing at 455 million euros in 2015.


Slovenia and Carinthia are cooperating closely and intensively on improving transport connections, e.g. the building of the second tube of the Karawanke tunnel, the modernisation of the rail connections via the Karawanke tunnel, and between Pliberk and Prevalje, as well as the possibility of using the Pavlič Pass for transport during winter. The Joint Committee’s solutions also preserved the daily bus line between Ljubljana and Klagenfurt. As part of European territorial cooperation, numerous EU projects are underway in the fields of the economy and tourism, and it is expected that future open calls will yield even more projects that will result from cooperation between Slovenian and Carinthian partners. The most intensive cooperation is happening in the field of protection against natural and other disasters. In the next one-year period, two joint exercises will be held – with the cooperation of rescue helicopters and a simulation of an aircraft accident – among other numerous activities within this field. Good cooperation has been established in the fields of education, culture, sport, social engagement and rural development; these fields are of a great importance for the Slovenian minority in Carinthia. The Minister was pleased to announce that the cooperation was enhanced and extended after last year’s meeting of the Joint Committee.


The Committee adopted a joint statement confirming the mutual intention to continue and consolidate cooperation within all areas for the benefit of both people and the environment on both sides of the border.


On the margins of the meeting, Minister Erjavec met with a co-chair of the Joint Committee and Governor, Dr Peter Kaiser. At the meeting, the centre of attention was the situation of the Slovenian minority in Carinthia. Minister Erjavec thanked the Governor for his personal endeavours to improve their situation and expressed his satisfaction with the explicit mention of the autochthonous Slovenian minority in the Carinthian state constitution, since this is a step in the right direction. "It is important that we successfully solve possible problems through dialogue," said Minister Erjavec. Carinthia's Governor raised the question of the status of members of the German-speaking community in Slovenia. Minister Erjavec emphasised that their status is regulated by the Constitution, and that they are granted all individual minority rights. Furthermore, he said that particular attention will be paid to the the question of financial and other support for this group in all future discussions.


The question of the financing and performance of the Slovenian music school, the question of standards in the field of pre-school education, additional bilingual topographic signs, effectiveness in participating in cross-border cooperation projects etc. are some of the questions discussed by Minister and representatives of the Slovenian minority who participated in today's visit in Klagenfurt. The Minister promised them support and assistance and encouraged them to continue the good work and efforts to guarantee full rights.


The Joint Committee convenes once a year for a plenary meeting, alternately in Slovenia and in Carinthia. The previous meeting took place on 13 July 2016 at Brdo pri Kranju.