Meet the Ambassador: The Ambassadors’ Club Interviews Diplomats in Isolation: The Ambassador of Slovenia

 

Your Excellency the Ambassador of Slovenia,

1. What are the goals of the Slovenian Embassy in Israel in face of the Covid-19 pandemics?

The global pandemics of Covid-19 has certainly changed our working methods and our focus, as we quickly adapted to the new reality. First and foremost, it is important that all our staff stays healthy and safe, and that we stay connected and supportive of each other. We are strictly following the guidelines and health protocols that are provided to us by the Israeli government and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Assisting repatriation of Slovenian travelers, who were in Israel but wanted to return home, was one of the crucial tasks as the pandemic unveiled. It is also important that our citizens, who remain in Israel, know that we are here to help them if any need arises.

 

2. How does the Embassy operate in time of confinement?

We follow the guidelines of the Israeli government and also the instructions that we receive from our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have introduced teleworking, most of our employees work from home, at the Embassy we only have essential staff. The Embassy is open, but visa and consular services are limited. Thanks to technology, we can easily remain in regular contact with our capital despite the challenges we face every day.

 

3. How does Slovenia cope with the pandemic?

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia continues to grow, but not at an exponential rate. We now have 1,335 cases and 77 fatalities.  Strict measures are in place since early March, ensuring social distancing and appropriate hygene protocols. The Government has just started to carefully ease the restrictions, making sure that we keep the spread of the virus under control.

 

4. Does the fact that Slovenia is part of the EU helps?

Slovenia as an EU Member State takes part and coordinates with the EU on policies connected to Covid-19 pandemic. We are stronger together and can help each other better as members of a large EU family. I would perhaps point out our joint support to EU citizens, who found themselves stranded outside the EU, also here in Israel. All EU states are sharing information on the options for return and closely work together for the repatriation of our citizens with flights organized by individual member states. Sharing information on very tight travel restrictions that are still in place around the world is also very valuable to our consular work.  Slovenian tourists mostly left Israel just before tight restrictions came to place, but for the ones that decided to depart later, it was very comforting to know that if there were no commercial flights available, we could always rely on our European partners, and vice versa.

 

Andreja Pukart-Martinez
Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia
to the State of Israel

 

CV of H.E. Ambassador Andreja Purkart-Martinez