Slovenia’s policy in the Western Balkans
In order to make Slovenia’s activities in the Western Balkans more systematic, the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with other ministries and government offices, drafted the Guidelines for Slovenia’s Policy in the Western Balkans, and proposed that the National Assembly adopt a declaration symbolically confirming Slovenia’s commitment to cooperation, assistance and development in the Western Balkans. In 2010 the Government endorsed the Guidelines, which define a tool for the further consolidation and coordination of activities in the Western Balkans. The Guidelines, furthermore, define Slovenia’s priorities and the measures needed to consolidate Slovenia’s position in the Western Balkans. Moreover, the tools envisaged in the Guidelines will identify and remove Slovenia’s internal administrative barriers to its relations with the region; the tools were devised to expedite economic, social and communication flows to the region, as well as to strengthen and renew the ties between the Balkan countries. In accordance with the Guidelines, Slovenia will strive for an expeditious and effective establishment of relations between all the Western Balkan countries in the fields of politics, security, transport, the economy, energy, science, information society, telecommunications, the environment, agriculture, culture, sport, etc., aimed at facilitating the free movement of people, goods, services, capital, and knowledge in the entire region.
In the field of culture, Slovenia plans to strengthen cultural cooperation and intercultural dialogue with and between the Western Balkan countries through cooperation in regional and international cultural associations and projects. Slovenia will promote connections, inclusiveness and synergy between international donors in the field of culture.
The Republic of Slovenia strengthened and supported all-round cooperation in culture through cooperation in regional and international cultural networks, projects and initiatives.
The Slovenian Ministry of Culture implemented this measure within the framework of various activities:
1) by joining the Council of Ministers of Culture of South East Europe as full member.
2) by establishing the Platform for South East Europe, and within it the Regional Hub of the Balkan Incentive Fund for Culture as defined in a memorandum signed with the European Cultural Foundation. Slovenia, through collaboration and partnership with the BIFC, wishes to contribute to its effectiveness by strategically strengthening the networking and project development, communication and visibility, as well as to the political advocacy for the fund and the region of Western Balkans among Member states and the EU institutions. The aim of BIFC contact point is to create an incubator for regional cooperation and become in time also a linking focal point of all already existing cultural cooperation initiatives in this region.
3) by pursuing its constant efforts in the field of cultural heritage in the framework of the continuation of joint programme of the EC and CE Ljubljana Process II. During the Slovenian Chairmanship of Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Slovenia organized international conference "Ljubljana Conference – Rehabilitating Our Common Heritage" in co-operation with the Council of Europe and the European Commission on 6 and 7 November in Ljubljana. The Ljubljana Conference attained its main objective, i.e. to emphasise and upgrade – through the final declaration and ministerial statements – the achievements of the Integrated Rehabilitation Project Plan/Survey of the Architectural and Archaeological Heritage (IRPP/SAAH) – a joint campaign implemented by the Council of Europe and the European Commission which has been underway since 2003. The conference participants acknowledged the value of the social and economic potential of heritage and its key role in the region, as well as the countries’ commitment to preserving cultural heritage; facilitate reconciliation between communities, and socio-economic development with the strengthening of regional co-operation and intercultural dialogue; ensure sustainability and the continuation of joint action, the financing of rehabilitation projects and the training of experts in project management, the management of monuments and restoration; and finally, the transfer of knowledge and experience from this region. By adopting the declaration and a joint ministerial statement of the beneficiaries of the Ljubljana Process, the participants confirmed their individual and joint responsibility in preserving and promoting the common European cultural heritage and their readiness to co-operate and to take decisions that will enable the continuation of the process in 2011.
4) by taking an active part in the UNESCO initiative “Cultural Heritage – a Bridge towards a Shared Future” for South East Europe.
5) by organizing regional forum “Writing, publishing, translating: building cultural diversity in South-East Europe” within the framework of “Ljubljana –World Book Capital City”, with the support of the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO, the Slovenian Book Agency,
and the UNESCO Office in Venice (more in detail as annexe).
The Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs supported the Sarajevo Notebooks, a project of promoting regional cooperation through literature.