The Prime Ministers of Serbia and Slovenia, Mirko Cvetkovic and Borut Pahor, on Wednesday expressed their desire to deal with unresolved issues from their shared past and to focus on the shared future of EU membership for the west Balkan region.
Addressing reporters at a joint press conference in Ljubljana on Wednesday, the two leaders underscored Slovenia’s support for Serbia’s bid to join the European Union, of which Slovenia is already a member.
“We want Serbia to join the EU. Serbia has an ally in us and we often within the framework of the EU caution that it is necessary to further expand the Union,” Pahor stated. “We will help our friends in Serbia and transfer our experiences to them.”
Cvetkovic, on the first state visit of a Serbian prime minister to Slovenia, said, “we came from the same former country and we can use the experience of Slovenia in European integration.”
Although both leaders spoke about the two countries entering a new chapter of friendship — from the field of economics to regional cooperation in the fight against organized crime — there remained, however, a few lingering unresolved issues.
Slovenia seeks to resolve issues pertaining to the common properties, obligations, debts of the former Yugoslavia through the Vienna Convention on Succession of States. Serbia, however, appears to be leaning toward bilateral agreements among the six former republics. Croatia, according to Cvetkovic, has expressed strong support for bilateral agreements.
Cvetkovic said a committee for the succession of states brought about by the disintegration of Yugoslavia has not yet agreed on how to resolve property ownership.
“The issue of succession is complicated, because we lived for decades in the same state,” said Cvetkovic, adding that any solution requires “good will,” something that had been lacking in the past, in the wake of the disintegration of a common state.