Following his visit to Slovenia on 2-3 March 1995, Commissioner Hans van den Broek expressed his wish to start negotiations for establishing a Europe Agreement between Slovenia and the European Union. Slovenia already has a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU and has made significant progress in terms of political and economic reform. Financial and economic support from the Union has been significant through the PHARE programme: more than US$ 50 million has been granted until now, in particular to foster the restructuring of the textile industry. Since 1993 the EU has also given loans amounting to more than US$ 170 million through the Financial Protocol. A Europe Agreement would enable Slovenia to participate fully in the EU's pre-accession strategy geared to preparing the ground for full EU membership for the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe.