|President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr Danilo Türk and his wife Barbara Mikliè Türk today arrived on a state visit to the Italian Republic where they were received by their hosts, the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, with his wife Clio Napolitano. After a reception with military honours, the Italian and Slovenian presidents had a brief one-on-one meeting, followed by plenary talks between the delegations of the Italian Republic and the Republic of Slovenia led by the respective presidents.|
|In his statement to the press, President Napolitano welcomed the Slovenian president as the official representative of a friendly state and stressed that it was the first state visit of a Slovenian president since Slovenia's independence. President Napolitano said that he and President Türk had discussed problems related to the global financial and economic crisis. He expressed his belief that the new possibilities of future development required a common European vision and common European efforts.|
President Napolitano recalled that he and President Türk agreed during his official visit to Slovenia in early 2008 that the only political perspective of the two countries lay in an integrated, united Europe. He stressed that Slovenia had proven its European affiliation by a successful candidacy for membership of the European Union. He added that Slovenia was the first of the Western Balkan countries to become a Member State of the European Union and that it was also the first new member to become a part of the Eurozone.
|In his statement to the press, President Türk said that today’s visit was the result of three years of work with President Napolitano since Napolitano’s visit to Slovenia. He also stressed that in their past talks they had defined an important practical principle of cooperation between the countries, which is the principle of adherence to the common European perspective. Slovenia and Italy are now joined by a common direction within the European Union, which, in the words of President Türk, provides a perspective for the future and is a starting point for resolution of open issues, as well as for a comprehensive look at the past.|
|President Türk expressed his concern that the European Union does not progress with sufficient speed and comprehensiveness in formulation of its common foreign and security policy because it still lacks a comprehensive approach to overcoming the financial crisis. He stressed that Europe needs modernisation. In this context, he supported the discussion on the proposal to introduce Eurobonds made last December by the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, Giulio Tremonti, and the prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker. He added that Slovenia expects much from Italy’s contribution to the building of comprehensive policy for the European Union since it is part of the core of the most loyal countries adhering to the European idea.|
President Napolitano and President Türk described bilateral relations between the countries as excellent. The Italian president advocated further strengthening of cooperation of the Slovenian national community in Italy and the Italian national community in Slovenia. President Türk underlined that both national minorities can significantly contribute to the further development of relations between the countries. He also expressed his satisfaction that both countries have ensured the financial stability of minority policy for the next two years.
|President Türk said that he was looking forward to the discussion focusing on minority issues announced by the Italian government. He considered the tenth anniversary of the Act Protecting the Slovenian Minority in Italy a good opportunity to deepen the discussion of minority issues and to determine new fields of cooperation. In his opinion, more can be done for the strengthening of bilingualism on both sides of the border and for consistent implementation of all legal norms in this field. President Napolitano agreed that there were possibilities for an improved situation for both national minorities.|
President Napolitano stressed the symbolic importance of the meeting of the presidents of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia on the "Route of Friendship" concert held last July in Trieste. He expressed his wish that the neighbourly relations would continue to develop in this spirit. He also recalled the tragic events of the Second World War and gave assurances that Italy had come to terms with its past by adopting a democratic constitution. He expressed his belief that the political leaders of both countries are aware of the suffering of victims and that the past would never be repeated.
|This opinion was shared by President Türk, who added that the meeting of the three presidents in Trieste had been full of important historical symbolism, and that it had begun to create a new spirit of cooperation, which requires careful fostering. This spirit offers the countries an opportunity to accelerate their progress in a number of practical projects. He emphasised the common concern for the economic and environmental aspects of the development of the Adriatic, stressed that the geographical position of Slovenia and Italy requires that the countries cooperate in the strengthening of economic relations with all countries in the Balkan area, and advocated strong cooperation between the two governments for support of maritime transport and ports in the Adriatic within global trade trends.|
President Türk also stressed the issue of works of art from Istrian churches and museums taken to Italy after the Second World War. He proposed that these masterpieces of great Italian artists should be exhibited in their original locations as a sign of efforts to foster a common cultural heritage. He also presented to President Napolitano a proposal for introduction of a common European Route of Peace in the entire area of the former Isonzo front, with the aim of recalling the tragic past and offering an opportunity for creative reflection on the common European future.
|In the afternoon, President Türk met with the president of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian republic, Gianfranco Fini, who stressed the importance of the new atmosphere in the relations between the countries, which enables strengthening of cooperation at all levels. The two devoted most of their time to cooperation within the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative and to the issue of national minorities. They agreed that the regulated issue of financing of minorities brings an opportunity for truly substantive cooperation of Slovenian and Italian minorities on both sides of the border, which should themselves find topics of cooperation uniting them. |
|President Türk then met with the president of the Senate of the Italian Republic, Renato Schifani. The two discussed the reforms necessary for further successful development of the European Union. In their talks, they emphasised that these reforms require the broadest political support that can be provided by national parliaments, emphasising the importance of their work.|
|In the evening, President Napolitano awarded President Türk the rank of Knight Grand Cross with cordon, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. President Dr Danilo Türk awarded President Napolitano the Order for Exceptional Services of the Republic of Slovenia. President Türk and his wife then attended a formal dinner held in their honour by President Napolitano and his wife.|