Her Excellency Ksenija Škrilec graduated at the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungarian and German philology. After completing the International Relations postgraduate programme, she joined the doctoral school of Andrássy University. She has been working in the Slovenian Embassy of Budapest since 1992 where she first filled the Secretary position, then she was appointed the ambassador’s deputy. During her years of service, she mainly worked in the field of economic policy and bilateral relations. Beside Hungarian and Slovenian, Her Excellency is fluent in German, English, Serbian-Croatian and Spanish languages.
The ambassador has been fulfilling her position in Hungary since 2013, which will come to its end soon. In her speech, she presented the numerous successes and cooperation possibilities highlighting the good, friendly relation between Hungary and Slovenia. The title of her presentation comes from Slovenia’s most famous poet, France Prešeren. Ms. Škrilec believes in the importance of the exemplary friendship between Hungary and Slovenia because the two countries are not only neighbours but they are good friends of each other, and they have a harmonious and smooth diplomatic relation. She added that one of her aims in Budapest was to bring Slovenian and Hungarian citizens closer in various aspect and levels, which she succeeded to achieve: an active political dialogue has commenced between the two countries, universities and secondary schools started to cooperate and the protection of minorities also received attention from the two parties in the past few years. The ambassador thinks that the minorities are key elements in linking the two countries, thus the Slovenian and Hungarian minority groups have the same rights as their inland fellows. The gender equality is also considered essential. For instance, the number of women working in the Slovakian Parliament is high, which is a good rate among the European states.
Slovenia has a very diverse geographic structure with its beautiful landscapes, sea, ports, huge forests which tempt many tourists; therefore the country puts great emphasis on the development of tourism and country image. People are protecting the nature and the environment including forests, big bear populations and bees. One of the ambassador’s project was a program called “Breakfast with Honey” which was launched in Slovenian and Hungarian elementary schools where children could learn about bees and honey while having breakfast together.
The guests of the roundtable discussion were Dr. János Bóka, Dr. István Szent-Iványi who was the Hungarian Ambassador to Slovenia between 2010 and 2016 and Zoltán Egeresi, from NUPS’ Centre for Strategic Defence Studies. Dr. Szent-Iványi said that few years ago the foreign policy of the two countries were different from what we have today: in the past it was a simple good neighbour relationship while today this relation has evolved into a serious strategic partnership where the parties mutually respect and acknowledge each other. According to the former ambassador, this relationship is one of the most well-functioning diplomatic relation among Hungary’s relations.
Zoltán Egeresi highlighted the importance and positive role of Slovenia within the Western Balkans states. The ambassador considers good communication and the gestures to each other as the basis of all strategic relationships. She closed the session by adding that Slovenia, together with the Western Balkans states is currently working on its role fulfilled in Central Europe.
The Ambassadors’ Forum at Ludovika event series will return in September 2017 when the first guest will be Turkey.