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Minorities form a connection between the two countries

Ljubljana, 09/02/2003  |  press release

Click to enlargeToday, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, received the President of the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Dr Riccardo Illy.

The two presidents concluded that co-operation between Slovenia and the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is very good and that Slovenia’s accession to the European Union will further widen opportunities for working together. Dr Illy said that during the last decade, in all the positions he has held, he has continually striven for Slovenia’s accession to the EU, as this will create the conditions for the unique economic, cultural and social development of this area. Dr Drnovšek thanked him for his support in this respect and said that 1 May 2004 will be important for the development of Slovene-Italian relations.

Click to enlargeWith regard to the issue of minorities, they concluded that minorities represent an important connecting element between our two countries. Dr Illy drew attention to the fact that statistical data shows that the number of the members of the Italian minority in Slovenia is falling. Dr Drnovšek stated that the institutional protection of the minority is good and that these trends, present also in relation to other minorities, are affected by other factors which need to be examined. He expressed his gratitude for Dr Illy’s contribution to the process of the adoption of the law protecting Slovenes in Italy and said that his support will also be important in ensuring that the law is put into practice.

The Presidents also touched upon the area of transport and Dr Illy expressed readiness for co-operation in this field. Dr Drnovšek said that Slovenia has already made major investments in the infrastructure and that opportunities for further co-operation towards the more rapid completion of these projects were always welcome. At the end of their talks, they expressed a desire for even greater co-operation and a continuous dialogue between the two neighbouring countries.
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