19:02 / 15.07.2021.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Milanović attends trilateral meeting with his Austrian and Slovenian counterparts

President Milanović, Pahor and Van der Bellen

President Milanović, Pahor and Van der Bellen

Foto: Screenshot / HRT

This is the 8th trilateral meeting of the three country's presidents, and the third to be hosted by Slovenia, which is also the current holder of the EU's rotating presidency.

President Zoran Milanović was in Slovenia on Thursday, where he participated in a trilateral meeting with the presidents of Austria and Slovenia, Alexander Van der Bellen and Borut Pahor. The focus of discussion was on the future of EU enlargement and recovery from the corona-crisis.

The three presidents agreed that it is necessary to accelerate vaccination, but that this shouldn’t be done in a repressive way. For his part, President Milanović openly questioned the practice of pressuring citizens to get vaccinated: "My patience with those who do not wish to get vaccinated is considerable. As is my bewilderment. However, I believe that any form of repression from the administrative branch, is a road to tyranny, and the despotism of one group of people. This is where I see dangerous conspiracy, not in people getting poisoned from the vaccination and all other form of nonsense we have been hearing." President Milanović went on to question the logic of forcing people who have been vaccinated to wear face masks.

With regard to the European perspective of Southeast Europe, all three presidents agreed that the EU should open its doors to those countries as soon as possible. President Milanović said he had briefed his colleagues of the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically the need to reform the election law. The Croatian President just ended a three-day working visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier in the week. President Pahor warned that if that perspective is not available to them, that space will be filled by others who do not have noble goals like the EU. Pahor also said that he believes in an imminent solution to Bulgaria's blockade of Northern Macedonia’s accession talks and believes it will restore the EU’s credibility and people’s trust in the EU. Van der Bellen announced that he would raise the issue during his upcoming meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev.

Slovenia assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union from Portugal on July 1st, and designated EU enlargement in the Western Balkans as one of its top priorities.

Source: HRT

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