Greece, Slovenia share vision for federal Europe: Slovenian president

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ATHENS, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Greece and Slovenia share the same vision for a federal Europe, Slovenian President Borut Pahor stressed on Tuesday during a meeting here with his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos as part of the latter's two-day official visit to Greece.

"I think both of us have a vision of a more federal Europe... I think deep in my heart that this is the future of Europe. United, strong, allowing all cultural diversities. It is not a like 'melting pot', but a successful global institution that offers its nations strong development, identity, and worldwide would be strong and powerful," Pahor said in a statement broadcast by Greek public broadcaster ERT.

Pavlopoulos warmly welcomed the remarks and referred to the ongoing ratification of the agreement reached in June between Athens and Skopje on the resolution of the dispute over the use of the name 'Macedonia', which had divided the two countries since 1991.

"We are not willing, ahead of the completion of this agreement and prior to its ratification, to accept any arbitrary interpretations of the Prespes agreement (on the resolution of the name dispute), in particular when they reflect irredentism," said the Greek president, noting that the process is not over yet.

Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) agreed this summer to change the latter's name to "Republic of North Macedonia" and to amend the FYROM's constitution to remove references which Athens considers irredentist.

The deal, which needs to be ratified by both countries' parliaments, would clear an obstacle to the Balkan state's accession to the EU and NATO.

During his meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, the Slovenian leader also congratulated Greece on its successful exit from the bailout programs after eight years this summer.

Tsipras emphasized Greece's willingness to cooperate with Slovenia and all countries in the Balkans in strengthening stability and achieving common progress and development.

"The Balkans have given birth to wars in the past and our vision must be for the Balkans to stop being Europe's powder keg from now on but become the region that breathes new momentum in the name of unity of the European people," Tsipras said.

In an interview with the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini, the Slovenian president proposed, as an example of future collaboration between the two countries, cooperation between the ports of Piraeus and Koper.

"There are certainly still some opportunities that have not yet been taken advantage of. May I mention just maritime transport and tourism. Our port of Koper would like to be a gateway to central Europe, while your port of Piraeus is a gateway to the western Balkans. There are certainly ample opportunities for cooperation between these two ports," he said.

On Wednesday, Pahor will visit the city of Nafplio in southern Greece for the unveiling of a memorial plaque of Slovenia, which highlights the historic ties between the two nations. Enditem

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