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State Visit of President of the Republic of Slovenia to Norway

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, paid a State Visit to Norway at the invitation of the King of Norway, Harald V. on 6 and 7 November 2019. President Pahor's visit was a return visit following the State Visit paid by King Harald V. and Queen Sonja to Slovenia in 2011. The King of Norway awarded the President of the Republic of Slovenia the first-degree decoration, the Grand Cross of the Norwegian Royal Order of St Olav. It is the highest Norwegian medal awarded by a king to foreign statesmen on occasion of national visits. President Pahor conferred upon the Norwegian Crown Prince Haakon Magnus the Golden Order of Merit for developing and consolidating friendly relations and cooperation between the Republic of Slovenia and the Kingdom of Norway and for promoting the fight against climate change, green transition to a circular economy and eradication of poverty.

After a wreath laying ceremony at the National Monument for the victims of World War II at the Akershus Fortress, President Pahor visited the Norwegian Parliament, Stortinget. In an interview with the President of the Parliament, Tone  Wilhelmsen Trøen, the two ministers confirmed the excellent relations between the two countries, which are linked by similar views on most issues. They exchanged views on political culture and people's trust in institutions in Norway and Slovenia. In light of the downward trend in confidence in political institutions, they agreed that more efforts should be made to ensure transparency.

President Pahor and King Harald of Norway also opened an exhibition of contemporary Slovenian furniture design entitled "We're Open!" by Museum of architecture and design (MAO) and curated by Center for Creativity (CzK). President Pahor then met with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, Erna Solberg, and attended the gala dinner hosted by King Harald V. and Queen Sonja.

On the second day of the visit, President Pahor and the Norwegian royal couple paid a visit to SINTEF, one of Europe's largest independent research organizations. They attended a Slovenian-Norwegian business and scientific seminar on artificial intelligence, green transition to a circular economy and sustainable solutions. The event was attended by a large number of Slovenian and Norwegian businessmen and representatives of research institutions, who presented achievements in the fields of artificial intelligence, circular economy and sustainable mobility. In the presence of President Pahor and the royal couple, a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the SINTEF Institute and the Jozef Stefan Institute, signed by prof. dr. Jadran Lenarčič CEO of Institute Jožef Štefan and Alexandra Bech Gjørv, CEO of SINTEF.

After this, President Pahor and King Harald visited the Holmenkollen ski jump and opened the Slovene Alpine Architecture 2008-2018 exhibition in the adjacent ski museum, part of which is the Nordic Center in Planica. The purpose of the exhibition is to link cooperation between the architects of the two countries and to demonstrate the strong bond that Nordic sports represent between the two countries. The exhibition was created in collaboration with the Holemenkollen Ski Museum, the Dessa Gallery in Ljubljana and the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana.

The presentation of the Slovenian apiary at the Norwegian Business School BI, which President Pahor gifted to the host, emphasized the importance of sustainable development, bees and other pollinators, which Norway also attaches great importance. Norway has recently adopted a specific strategy in this field. The beehive will be kept on the roof of a Norwegian business establishment.

President Pahor hosted a Slovenian evening in Gamle Logen for the Royal Family, the Diplomatic Corps and the Slovenian community in Norway during which a promotion of Slovenian tourism, was also presented by the director of the Slovenian tourist organization Maja Pak. This was followed by a jazz concert by the Slovenian-Norwegian ensemble "Žan Tetičkovič Quartet featuring Eivind Opsvik". The Chef Tomaz Kavčič from Gostilna pri Lojzetu at Dvorec Zemono did an excellent job promoting Slovenian gastronomy at the reception following the concert.