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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Prime Minister Janez Janša at the main national celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of Slovenian statehood and the handover of the Presidency of the Council of the EU

By: UKOM

In Friday’s address, Prime Minister Janez Janša not only marked the ceremonial state celebrations with those present but also the handover of the presidency of the Council of the EU.

His speech looked back to those times, 30 years ago. “With the constitutional act, we declared an independent state based on the support of more than 90 percent of the people in the plebiscite. When we proclaimed independence a day later, we were attacked.” He emphasised that Slovenians stood tall and stood firm, and that we, to a great extent, stood alone on this day 30 years ago. “We had only our fellow Slovenians abroad. Except for neighbouring Croatia, which found itself in a similar situation, no one recognised our independence.” He underlined that we nevertheless endured. “The year before, we managed to hold free elections and Slovenia breathed freely.”

Continuing his address, the Prime Minister said that the times of 30 years ago could not be more different from the present. “Today we have peace, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union and high economic growth. Slovenia is a member of the European Union and NATO. All our neighbouring countries are with us in the European Union, and they are not only friendly countries, but are, together with us, a part of the common European family.” In his address, the Prime Minister thanked the Republic of Croatia, which was the first country to recognise Slovenia 30 years ago. He noted that Slovenia was taking over the presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time and that the country is an experienced member of the multinational community. “We know what works well in such a community and what does not. We know that the fastest way to break up any community is to use double standards. That is why we will always strive for the same standards to apply equally to everyone, both at home and in Europe.”

In his address, the Prime Minister thanked Portugal for having successfully carried out its presidency in an extremely difficult situation during the epidemic. He stressed that Slovenia would do everything possible during its presidency to make Europe’s recovery from the epidemic faster and more effective, and to ensure that the essential elements for making the European Union more resilient against future crises would be set up as early as possible and that due consideration would be given to Europe’s strategic autonomy.

The Prime Minister said that today is time to look to the next three decades. “We see a Slovenia that has completed its transition, at ease with itself, full of joie de vivre and taking pride in its journey. We see a Europe that is based on European civilization and respect for difference; a strong Europe boasting a European way of life and strong member states. A Europe with efficient and lean European Union institutions, free and as united as possible. We see a Europe that is at peace with itself and set in peaceful and prosperous surroundings. We see Europe as part of a strong North Atlantic Alliance, as a world leader in terms of freedom and quality of life, as home to justice and prosperity. We see Slovenia and Europe as a place of dynamic and free expression of opinions, mutual cooperation, high standards in terms of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and in terms of the rule of law, which is based on equal standards for all and on the cooperation of democratic institutions elected by the people.”

The Prime Minister said that a lot of work is still needed to make this a reality. “However, the most important thing is that we know who we are and that is who we want to be. And that we know how to dream and we dare to dream, just as we dared to dream during the Slovenian Spring.” He went on to say that courage and dreams must be returned to young generations. “The words we speak, however, must hold true. For in the beginning was the word and from it all things were made. We would never have succeeded 30 years ago if we had spoken and done only what was easy and agreeable.”

At the end of his address, Prime Minister Janša thanked the citizens for their patience during the epidemic, and thanked the healthcare workers, especially those who had been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. He recalled that Slovenians had fought for and won their democracy, freedom and statehood. “We were not born in prosperity. We are a resilient, but also an open and optimistic nation. We value ourselves and respect others. We possess the knowledge and the ability. The Prime Minister said that we may never be the greatest, but we can be the best, the safest, the most sustainable, the most cohesive and the most persistent. He added that we can be confident and courageous, just as we were 30 years ago. “Slovenian culture has sustained us over the centuries. We won the battle 30 years ago not with weapons, but with our wits. When it came to taking decisions and risks, we made the right choices. Let us continue to do so in the future. God bless our friends, long live all nations and God bless Slovenia,” said the Prime Minister.

In his address, Prime Minister Janša thanked the distinguished foreign guests, the President of the European Council and the Prime Ministers of Austria, Croatia and Hungary, as well as the Foreign Ministers of Italy and Portugal, who honoured the state celebration with their presence. The Prime Minister also thanked the Portuguese Foreign Minister for presenting him with a compass, which symbolised taking over the helm of the Presidency of the Council of the EU, saying: “Europe’s seas are rough so a compass will be of great help.”

Source: gov.si

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