Prime Minster Cerar attends NATO summit in Brussels
The main focus at the summit was on fulfilling the commitments of member states regarding defence spending, something that was particularly singled out before the meeting by US President Donald Trump. In his statement for the press, Prime Minister Cerar described the debate on this issue as tense at certain moments, but nevertheless constructive. Individual leaders reasoned that the financial aspect is important but not the only important contribution that individual countries bring to the alliance. As an example he cited Slovenia, which is one of the top countries in terms of its commitment in joint operations, and its collaboration is frequently assessed as responsible and successful. Equally, in the assessment of several European leaders the situation between countries is often not comparable.
The Prime Minister underlined that Slovenia is very well aware of its responsibility to the alliance, including financial. During the crisis period Slovenia drastically reduced its funds for defence, but in recent years this trend has been reversed upwards. Each year Slovenia is allocating nominally more funds and is pursuing the envisaged medium-term defence programme. This sets out that by 2021 Slovenia should achieve a proportion of 22% of defence funds allocated for investment, and by 2023 it should be allocating 60% more funds for defence than in 2017. Here PM Cerar underlined that the fulfilment of commitments is something that will need to be seriously adopted by the incoming government, for Slovenia to remain a credible ally.
At the summit, leaders took the decision to invite Macedonia to begin accession negotiations. The Slovenian Prime Minister welcomed the decision, and assessed it as an important signal that the door remains open for countries of the Western Balkans. Slovenia strongly supports the integration of Western Balkan countries, just as it made a significant contribution in the accession of Montenegro last year.
The leaders held separate meetings today with the presidents of Ukraine and Georgia and with partners in Afghanistan. In the Prime Minister’s view, NATO remains a very active force in the development of democratic values and providing security. “We have shown that we have solidarity, that we wish to function in concert and encourage all countries that respect international law and are committed to democratic values to continue along that path,” said the Slovenian Prime Minister in summary to the press.