President paying official visit to Austria

Ljubljana/Vienna, 24 April - President Nataša Pirc Musar will pay an official visit to Vienna on Monday, her first to Austria since she assumed office, to meet her counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen. They will discuss issues that are important for the secure future of both countries, the EU and the planet. The Slovenian minority in Austria is high on the meeting's agenda.

Vienna, Austria
The Belvedere Palace.
Photo: Xinhua/STA
File photo

The meeting will focus on climate change, measures to achieve the Paris Agreement targets and the EU's Green Deal, biodiversity preservation and water diplomacy efforts. The latter is at the forefront of Slovenia's campaign to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The presidents will also discuss current EU issues and the Western Balkans situation. Slovenia and Austria both view the region as a part of Europe and strive to speed up the bloc's enlargement to the Western Balkans.

Pirc Musar will use the meeting as an opportunity to tell Van der Bellen about plans to continue and build on cooperation with countries in the region under the Brdo-Brijuni initiative, the press release reads.

Another topic high on the agenda will be the Ukraine war and the associated rise of disinformation and fake news, which have become part of hybrid warfare.

Special attention will be paid to the situation of the 50,000-strong Slovenian minority in Austria. Pirc Musar met the minority's representatives in Ljubljana last Thursday to discuss their challenges and rights, which she believes are basic human rights. The representatives underlined efforts to preserve the Slovenian language as the key challenge.

Relations between Austria and Slovenia are good and friendly, but recently both the Slovenian government and minority in Austria have been disappointed by Austria's decision to yet again extend checks on the border with Slovenia and Hungary that were first put in place during peak refugee crisis in 2015.

Pirc Musar is scheduled to visit Belvedere Museum to see an exhibition on Gustav Klimt as part of her visit, and to meet Slovenians living in Vienna.

© STA, 2023