State visit to Slovenia: Opening of business seminar
When Slovenia became a member of the European Union in 2004, new opportunities opened up for developing a stronger partnership between Slovenia and Norway. You then became part of the European internal market, where Norway was already a member through the EEA Agreement. This is the strongest commercial link between our two countries.
In addition, the EEA and Norway Grants continue to provide numerous opportunities for strengthening our ties. The signing of the Memoranda of Understanding for the grants during this State Visit will mark the continuation of this very important part of our bilateral relations. For the forthcoming period, the EEA and Norway Grants to Slovenia will see an increase of over 40%, bringing the grants up to a total of EUR 26.9 million.
We also cooperate in organisations such as NATO, the OECD and the UN. These arenas provide good opportunities for our countries – together – to advance prosperity, peace and democracy.
While the trade between Slovenia and Norway still is rather modest, it has nearly doubled since your country joined the EU in 2004. Last year saw an increase of 14%. This is a trend I hope will continue in the years to come. I hope that the business seminar today will pave the way for even closer bilateral economic ties.
We are pleased to note that the public authorities and the business sector are both represented at this conference.
I believe that we have a great deal to learn from each other, and that both Slovenia and Norway have much to gain from closer political, economic and cultural relations. I wish you well in your endeavours and hope today’s seminar will be a useful contribution to your further work.