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President Pahor hosts a formal dinner of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Slovenia

Ljubljana, 5. 6. 2019 | press release, speech

On the eve of the first day of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Slovenia, Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, hosted a formal dinner in the Presidential Palace where he also gave an official toast. As the longest-serving president, Dalia Grybauskaitë, President of the Republic of Lithuania, had the honour to address the guests at the dinner on behalf of the leaders of the Three Seas Initiative and high guests of the Summit in Slovenia.

Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia, informed the guests that the next, and fifth, Three Seas Initiative Summit would take place next year in Tallinn. On this occasion, she invited everyone to gather again next year.

The toast by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is below. The spoken word applies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends.

Slovenia and I are greatly honoured to host you in our beloved homeland.

This is only the second time in the history of our country that so many heads of state and high-ranking guests have gathered here. If we understand the Three Seas Initiative as a political and business summit, there has been no other similar event in our almost thirty years of history.

You can thus apprehend my personal excitement and the pride of our people. On this occasion, I would like to thank you for entrusting to me and my country the organisation of such an important meeting.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

This year’s Three Seas Initiative Summit is taking place shortly after the European elections and just before the election of the new European Commission.

We have an excellent opportunity to express as part of the Central and Eastern European Union in concluding documents our high expectations regarding its future work, particularly in the energy sector, transport and digital connectivity. And we will take this opportunity.

I regard it as very important that all three specialist fields of particular interest to us are placed within the framework of sustainable development. One could perhaps justifiably assess that this part of the European Union has some democratic and developmental deficit if compared with the West.

But we have a unique opportunity to eliminate this deficit in the next decade in a modern, sustainable and innovative way. Let us not underestimate our prospects; we can achieve so much together.

When I say together, I refer to three dimensions of this connectivity. Firstly, among ourselves. Secondly, our connectivity within the European Union. And thirdly, our transatlantic connectivity in which we want to believe despite certain current divergences.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

At this gala dinner, I particularly greet the German President and our friend, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. I welcome the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and I am pleased that Rick Perry, United States Secretary of Energy, is with us again.

The events of today and tomorrow should resonate with our national, European and world public as a clear acknowledgement of our responsibility for our joint future development, peace and democracy.

The thoughts of our children and grandchildren are likely somewhere else at this moment. It is not their duty to follows us attentively. But it is our duty to follow them and their dreams. They will be able to realise their dreams and talents only if there is permanent peace, and if the European Union is a democratic and inclusive society.

To this end, let me conclude by highlighting again that the European Union, our shared homeland, is first and foremost a project of peace and security. Almost 30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, most of us and our countries particularly understand the importance of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Dear Friends.

Europeans responded to our call and elected a new European Parliament with the highest voter turnout in the last twenty years. It is now very important not to have expectations that are too low and easily fulfilled, but to have high expectations, even if some of them remained unfulfilled.

We have gathered here to contribute to this to the best of our abilities within the Three Seas Initiative.
I raise my glass and make a toast to our successful joint future."

President Pahor hosts a formal dinner of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Slovenia
Photo: Nik Jevšnik/STA