Today marks 100 years of the Carinthian plebiscite by which the southern part of Carinthia, together with the Slovenian population living there, was to become an integral part of the Republic of Austria. This anniversary opens up an opportunity for both nations to reflect upon the past and lift the historical burdens.
In addition to the shared history of neighbouring nations, the plebiscite centennial also highlights the position of the Slovenian national community in the Republic of Austria, more specifically in Carinthia. On this occasion, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia stresses the importance of fully honouring the commitments referred to in Article 7 of the Austrian State Treaty and welcomes the plans of the current Austrian government to improve the material and legal position of the Slovenian national community in Austria.
Slovenia and Austria are both members of the European Union. The shared European home created opportunities that were not available in the area in the past. Our shared duty to future generations is to seize this opportunity to foster the harmony between the Slovenian-speaking and German-speaking residents of Carinthia and between both countries. The recent visit of the Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz in Slovenia also took place in the light of good neighbour relationships.
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia embraces the decision of Slovenian and Austrian presidents, Borut Pahor and Alexander Van der Bellen, respectively, to hold a joint commemoration marking the Carinthian plebiscite centennial. The awareness that we can only build the future on things that we share in common and that connect us is the message we want to pass on to future generations. It is the message of two nations that are focusing on the future, which is based on mutual respect, cooperation and friendship in the family of European nations.