The regional summit which will be held in Zagreb on Wednesday and which will also be attended by European Council President Donald Tusk and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, is an opportunity to further advance political trust, strengthen stability and confirm European prospects of the countries taking part in the summit, Slovenian President Borut pahor told the Slovenian news agency STA on Saturday.
As part of the preparations for the summit, which will be held within the frameworks of the Croatia-Slovenia Brijuni-Brdo initiative, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and her Slovenian counterpart Pahor are scheduled to meet in Ljubljana on Sunday.
According to Pahor, Biden's arrival in Zagreb is a message that the United States is attaching the necessary attention to the region and that it is "actively returning" to the region in this delicate moment when the security risk in Europe and the world has been increased.
Pahor expects the summit also to address the migrant and refugee crisis and cooperation in regulating the refugee influx which, he says, needs to be reduced.
"This isn't possible without an agreement with Croatia and Austria. Regardless of our differences, we need to reach an agreement with Croatia regarding a gradual reduction of the refugee influx and the establishment of order at the Schengen border in its entirety," the Slovenian president told the STA agency.
He expects European Council President Tusk to once again guarantee European prospects of the Balkans, something the United States also support. Pahor expects the summit in Zagreb to focus also on security and political integration process, with every country in the region having a choice which organisations it wanted to be part of.
Speaking about relations with Croatia, Pahor told STA that the Brijuni-Brdo process was launched after Slovenia and Croatia regulated their outstanding border issue through their arbitration deal.
Although Croatia had unilaterally left the arbitration process, I expect the arbitration court to continue its work and despite their differences on this issue, Slovenia and Croatia must continue to cooperate, the Slovenian president said.
"Slovenia and Croatia are and will always be neighbouring countries, as neighbours we must talk about all outstanding issues. For me it is important that the arbitration court ... delivers a verdict on the international border," Pahor said.
He stressed that topics discussed at the summit in Zagreb would include security issues connected with the situation in the region, regional stability and relations between countries, as well as recent terrorist attacks and threats in Europe.