Flanked by the Slovenian minister for cohesion and regional development, Aleksander Jevšek, Mr Cassis underlined the strong ties between Switzerland and Slovenia. "As Alpine nations, we share our experiences, our challenges and our expertise," declared Mr Cassis at the signing ceremony. The partnership will be underwritten by CHF 16 million in cohesion credits from SECO until 2029 as part of the second Swiss contribution. Its objective is to boost Slovenia's energy efficiency and develop renewable energy resources. Swiss funding and expertise will help to create, among other things, a national digital platform to improve oversight of energy planning and to run pilot projects to build solar energy capacity on agricultural land.
Switzerland's contribution to selected EU member states – an investment in Europe's security, stability and prosperity – is part of the broader framework of relations with the EU. Between 2007 and 2017, Switzerland had already provided CHF 21 million in funding for various projects in Slovenia. Following on from this contribution to EU enlargement, Switzerland and Slovenia have jointly defined the themes and funded the projects on which they plan to cooperate.
Bled Strategic Forum focuses on geostrategic situation
The Bled Strategic Forum is an annual international conference hosted by the Slovenian government which brings together some 3,000 participants. The 2023 edition, held under the banner of 'Solidarity for Global Security', addresses the current geostrategic situation and the challenges of multilateralism in a context of growing insecurity and uncertainty. At a panel discussion on the future of multilateralism, Mr Cassis spoke about Switzerland's experience on the UN Security Council and as a host state for international organisations. He explained Switzerland's position in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine and reaffirmed its commitment to the Ukrainian people and the country's recovery.
In a spirit of solidarity and in response to a request from Slovenia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis announced that Switzerland will support Slovenia with 200,000 Swiss francs in aid of victims following the floods in the country. He also announced Switzerland's willingness to contribute to the exchange of reconstruction know-how following the widespread damage.
Mr Cassis also took the opportunity to hold bilateral discussions with his counterparts on the sidelines of the forum, and held more extensive talks with the foreign ministers of Slovenia and South Korea. He also spoke briefly with the Canadian foreign minister about his upcoming visit to Canada.
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