The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Slovenia, where he found a common voice with Slovenian Prime Minister, Miro Cerar regarding the adversary effects of the EU’s sanctions against Russia on both countries economies.
Slovenia is the first state in the European Union visited by Medvedev since the beginning of the tightening of the relations with the EU over the Ukrainian conflict. The visit and the issues discussed are not coincidental: since the implementation of the santions, Slovenia has suffered a relatively small decline in exports to Russia, however both Cerar and Medvedev agreed that not only the sanctions, but the fall of energy prices affected the bilateral trade.
Regarding the crisis, Cerar emphasized the need to solve the conflict through open dialogue and expressed his support to the integrity of Ukraine. On the other hand, the Slovenian Prime Minister urged to lift the sanctions against Russia. He assured Medvedev about Slovenia’s position on Russia, which is going to remain moderate and unchanged in terms of economics and the negative affects of the EU’s sanctions.
Beside other agreements they established during the Russian Prime Minister’s visit, (regarding culture, shared projects in high technology and pharmacy), the Turkish Stream was also mentioned as a new opportunity for Slovenia to become a transit country, since the country was interested to participate in the South Stream project. Cerar vaguely expressed the actual likelihood of such thing to happen, saying, that Slovenia needs to estimate the actual benefits of the program to the country, although by just even bringing up the subject, it can be assumed to be a particular choice to make.
It is clear, that the Slovenian support towards Russia is, as it is the case in many Central European countries, more based on the economic relations and other bilateral co-operations, and it does not necessarily mean a mutual political understanding. But, as it was expressed by Medvedev, Russia expects the EU to take the first steps to lift the sanctions and counts on Slovenia as a stable ally to count on. It is true: having Slovenia among the other Central European EU members, who do not demean hostile attitudes towards Russia, is definitely meaningful and will definitely influence the region’s future.