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Speech by the leader of SDS Janez Janša at EPP congress in Zagreb: Preserving the creation and protecting our European way of life is precondition for everything else

Full speech of the leader of SDS Janez Janša at the EPP congress in Zagreb:

»Dear ladies and gentlemen, dear friends and colleagues

During the last decade the EU has changed.

Financial crisis, migratory crisis and Brexit have created something different than the EU we knew after the fall of the Berlin wall and big enlargement. Huge optimism and strong conviction that EU, now whole and free, will become a world champion, able to shape the globalization, was replaced with overwhelming feeling of uncertainty and skepticism. Some old divisions surfaced again and new ones appeared. Despite all, optimism and hope exist and vast majority of European population still believe that the EU, wisely managed, is more of a solution than a problem.

This hope is crucial, because the biggest challenges in decades, maybe in the entire history of the EU are ahead of us.

Demography is our most important strategic challenge.

Digital Europe is our key to growth and jobs tomorrow.

Preserving the creation and protecting our European way of life is precondition for everything else. If we fail, after a while, socialists will have nothing to promote.

A new Commission president included all these strategic challenges into her program for the next 5 years which is a source of optimism. And I congratulate her for this courage. Our task is to collect enough political power behind her program to be implemented fully and on time.

This new era demands new answers, new policies and a strong leadership.

Unfortunately, after the last EU elections, the EU parliament is more fragmented and not more focused or united. And this is not the worst part of the problem.

If we want a strong and effective EU, we also need a strong and stable member states. Currently, almost half of the governments in our member states have minority or technical governments. Some of them are even composed (of coalition of losers?) from joint/united? losers of national elections. Grand coalitions are collapsing, new political forces surfaced and new reality can not be managed by old concepts and obsolete political tools.

This is why I wish to our new president Donald wisdom and a lot of political and personal courage. There is not only one, there are 27 battlefields to fill and as many battles to win. This means that we have to respect historical differences and at the same time avoid using double standards. Some of us were born in welfare and some in dictatorships. The fall of the Berlin wall 30 years ago was not the end but only the beginning of the democratic transition. The west part of Europe has to help us to finish it and not vise a versa. This is especially important when we treat a new EU applicant countries from our eastern neighborhood and Western Balkans.

There are tasks which are difficult, demanding and time wasting. And there are tasks which could be easily implemented if there is enough political will. Lets start with them. Let’s keep our promises and start negotiations with Northern Macedonia. Bolgaria, Romania and Croatia have all fulfilled criteria for Schengen area. Let them in, and security in entire EU will improve.

I want to thank to Joseph Daul especially for his support 5 years ago when national elections in Slovenia were stolen and when he was one of the only few EU politicians not prepared to use double standards. I also thanks to our host party, Croatian HDZ for a warm hospitality. Puno hvala.

And I wish very a successful first Croatian EU presidency to prime minister Andrej Plenkovič. Sretno, Andrej.«


Janez Janša was born in 1958 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In May 1988 he was arrested by the State Security Service for publishing several critical articles in youth newspapers that were printed in small editions. A few months later he was convicted with three others in a closed trial at the military court in Ljubljana and sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment. These arrests and the process triggered mass demonstrations, in which demands for democratic elections were made. Janša was directly elected to the new democratic parliament and in May 1990 to the first democratic Slovenian government, becoming Minister of Defence. In 1993 he became the President of the Slovenian Democratic Party, with which he won the parliamentary elections in 2004, and between 2004 and 2008 he was the Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia. In the first half of 2008, when Slovenia was presiding over the EU, he was in charge of the European Council. At the parliamentary elections in September 2008 the Slovenian Democratic Party fell short of the Social Democrats by 1% of the votes and Janša became the leader of the opposition.


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