Fajon, Arčon host minority reps ahead of Tajani's visit
Ljubljana, 15 March - Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and Minister for Slovenians Abroad Matej Arčon met with representatives of the Slovenian minority in Italy on Wednesday ahead of Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani's visit to Slovenia on Friday. They discussed topical issues concerning the minority, the Foreign Ministry said.
Ksenija Dobrila from the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union, Walter Bandelj from the Council of Slovenian Organisations, Marko Jarc, the chair of the parity committee on Slovenian minority matters, and regional councillor Marko Pisani presented the key issues and the exercise of the minority rights.
They noted that an effective mechanism should be found for the representation of the minority in Italian bodies at the regional and national levels, and touched on education in Slovenian and the public use of Slovenian in the areas populated by the minority.
"The Slovenian minority in Italy and the Italian minority in Slovenia are the engine of cooperation between Slovenia and Italy,"
said Fajon, adding that the goal was to speed up the resolving of open issues in the spirit of good neighbourly relations.
She noted that Slovenia would continue to strive to promote open political dialogue with Italy, while Arčon added that such preparatory meetings ahead of visits by high-ranking representatives of the neighbouring countries should become a constant.
The priorities that Slovenia should advocate in relations with Italy include guaranteed representation of the Slovenian minority in representative bodies at the regional and national levels, the minister for Slovenian abroad said.
Both ministers noted the importance of cross-border cooperation for the Slovenian minority and the 2025 European Capital of Culture project, which will be hosted by the border towns of Nova Gorica (Slovenia) and Gorizia (Italy).
Fajon also welcomed the establishment of a project office as part of the Slovenian Regional Business Association in Trieste, which will provide assistance to Slovenians in Italy when applying for calls for applications as part of the EPK 2025 project.
She also welcomed steps for enhanced cooperation and regular exchanges between the Slovenian minority in Italy and the Italian minority in Slovenia, and called for synergies to be found by means of other joint content and targetted projects.