US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Ljubljana today to meet with Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Ljubljana today to meet with Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša.
This is the first visit to Slovenia from a high-profile US official in two decades. After discussions on nuclear energy and Balkan integration into the EU, Pompeo is expected to sign a joint declaration with Foreign Minister Anže Logar that will commit both countries to the collaborative development of 5G infrastructure. Slovenia will likely announce its intention to limit the penetration of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in future development initiatives as well.
Pompeo’s tour has highlighted Washington’s strategic concerns to Brussels; both powers remain wary of Chinese and Russian influence in eastern Europe and hope to boost energy projects that would steer regional investment toward Western economies. While this strategy is still nascent, its overall success will depend upon reciprocal indications of cooperation and trust across the Atlantic.
The likelihood of this trajectory has been reduced by the Trump administration’s rhetoric, which has painted European firms as trade competitors. Washington is unlikely to resort to punitive measures to secure trade concessions, as it expects its European allies to rally around a tradition of trans-Atlantic unity. However, volatile US foreign policy could force Europe to remain friendly with China in order to hedge the risks of US unpredictability.
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