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Slovenian President Advocates for EU Expansion and Open Borders on Membership Anniversary

At a high-profile event marking Slovenia's 20th anniversary in the EU, President Nataša Pirc Musar advocated for open borders and expanded EU membership

On the 20th anniversary of Slovenia’s accession to the European Union, President Nataša Pirc Musar hosted a significant event at the Brdo Castle estate, advocating for open borders and the bloc’s enlargement. The gathering, which included the leaders of neighbouring Austria, Croatia, Hungary, and Italy, addressed the benefits and challenges facing the EU.

President Pirc Musar praised the EU for offering fundamental freedoms and emphasized the importance of a fully-functioning Schengen Area. She appealed to the governments of both Slovenia and its neighbours to abolish border controls, referencing the historical significance of tearing down barriers in the region.

The meeting underscored the importance of EU enlargement as a key geopolitical strategy, particularly supporting accession efforts by Western Balkan countries. However, views on future EU integration varied among the leaders. Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and Italian President Sergio Mattarella called for reforms to prepare for new members and speed up decision-making processes. Conversely, Croatian President Zoran Milanović and Hungarian President Tamas Sulyok expressed concerns about moving towards too tight an integration.

The event, marked also by the commemoration of Earth Day, saw President Pirc Musar presenting linden tree seedlings to her counterparts, symbolizing growth and unity. This marked the first meeting of the heads of these nations in Slovenia since June 2011, reflecting a continued commitment to regional and continental cooperation.

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