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On the right road

Chancellor Angela Merkel deemed the inaugural visit of the new Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek to be an "important reflection" of the good relations between the two countries. Within the framework of the EU, the two countries have already "resolved pressing problems together".

Alenka Bratusek presents Angela Merkel with a football shirt bearing the name 'Merkel'. The Slovenian Prime Minister gave the Chancellor a Slovenia football shirt Photo: Bundesregierung/Eberstein

Germany is, "not only a good friend of Slovenia," but also an important trading partner, said Angela Merkel. That is why the talks focussed primarily on the economic situation and cooperation.

Opportunities for German businesses

Referring to the privatisation efforts ongoing in Slovenia, the Chancellor saw opportunities for even closer cooperation. She wished Slovenia "every success" and pointed out that Germany is interested, "in German businesses too being considered where appropriate".

Focus on the financial sector

With a view to the review of the banking sector the Chancellor reported she has the impression, "that Slovenia is doing all it possibly can to put matters on an even keel". She called for internationally accepted stress tests. This could help overcome uncertainties on the part of investors and generate trust and confidence. "Otherwise, when interest rates are too high, and there is no confidence in the banking sector, an extremely difficult vicious circle emerges," said Angela Merkel.

Growth can flourish from the seeds of confidence. "Growth is of course a precondition for creating jobs, especially for young people," said the Chancellor. Alenka Bratušek agreed and was willing to take "advice from Germany" in the field of youth employment.

Shared responsibilities within the EU

It is encouraging to note that Greece’s reform efforts mean that it will now be receiving the next part of the assistance package, said Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, the country is still facing hard times. The loss of jobs in the public sector is "an issue that must be resolved".

With reference to the euro zone Angela Merkel declared, "that we are on the right road". Nevertheless there are still a lot of problems, "relating to competitiveness and jobs".

The Chancellor also pointed out that Germany and Slovenia "cooperate very closely" on all important issues also those relating to the development of the other former Yugoslavian states.

Close relations

Relations between Germany and Slovenia are close and cordial. They date back to 1992, when Slovenia became independent. In April 2013 the Slovenian President Borut Pahor visited Germany and met Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal President Joachim Gauck.

Slovenia joined the European Union in 2004 and the euro zone in 2007. Like other EU partners, Slovenia is still struggling with the consequences of the worldwide economic and financial crisis. Structural reforms and efforts to reduce the national debt are now top priorities.

Following a constructive vote of no confidence in her predecessor Janez Janša, Alenka Bratušek took over as head of government on 27 February 2013. The Chairwoman of the Positive Slovenia Party and hitherto head of the opposition was confirmed in office by parliament on 20 March. She heads a coalition with the Social Democrats, the Liberal People’s Party and the Democratic Pensioners’ Party.

Jul 12, 2013