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Speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the main celebration of Statehood Day

Ljubljana, 24. 6. 2019 | press release, speech

This evening, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and Ms Tanja Pečar attended the main celebration of Statehood Day. The President of the Republic of Slovenia made a speech at the main ceremony.

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

Dear fellow Slovenians at home and around the world, dear fellow citizens, excellencies and friends,

it is the eve before the holiday. Let the atmosphere be somewhat more joyous and uplifting. Let us be overcome by pride and self-confidence. We have a reason for this.

We are celebrating our country.

The establishment of an autonomous and independent state, the Republic of Slovenia, was the most magnificent milestone in our nation’s history 28 years ago.

We finally have our state. It is a bastion and a building block of a better, fairer and safer society, which reflects and develops our national character.

With an independent state and through it, we take an equal place in the wonderful united Europe. We create the future of peace and prosperity together.

With an independent state, we are an equal part of the global order. The Republic of Slovenia is a sovereign member of the international community.

We matter. Because we have our own country, we matter, on the inside and out.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
the Slovenian nation has been gradually generating conditions for this accomplishment through long centuries. It was being constituted territorially, politically, culturally, spiritually and militarily.

We went through historic ordeals which shaped us. Foreign masters were not lenient, but we suffered the most when we hurt each other.

We survived all of that. We matured. In the overall change before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, our political and national leaders did not overlook the historic opportunity that presented itself for a brief moment.

On this famous square 30 years ago, the poet Tone Pavček read the May Declaration of 1989 at the majestic people’s rally during the exciting climax of the Slovenian political spring.

A year before the first democratic election, two years before the plebiscite and the declaration of Slovenia’s independence, and 15 years before Slovenia’s accession to the European Union, this historically unique document stated the following requirements: firstly, democracy, secondly, a sovereign state, and thirdly, its integration within the reformed Europe.

The Declaration forecast everything which the Slovenian nation later peacefully, patiently, bravely and decisively attained to the benefit of its most fundamental and vital aspirations, bringing freedom to our new home like never before.
Statehood Day connects and unites us in intimate and collective feelings of joy and pride in an independent Slovenia.

We are eternally grateful to political leaders who – Initially isolated and frequently misunderstood – stubbornly and decisively grew, nurtured and spread the ideas of democracy, an independent state, its place in the united Europe and national reconciliation.

We admire the unity of people who – in partial doubt at first and then without an ounce of doubt – supported the vision of an independent state in the united Europe at the plebiscite. These were the most famous of moments among the most prominent ones in our nation’s history.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

independent Slovenia is now at the age when children born in it have already become parents themselves. It is known of the present generation of children that they unconditionally feel their country is their homeland.

When three- or four-year-old children draw the Slovenian flag, they draw the flag of an independent Slovenia, a tricolour with a coat-of-arms. Our coat-of-arms is quite difficult to draw, but how much effort these children invest in drawing it.

Because Slovenia is their country. Because this is their homeland. They love it and care for it even more than their parents and grandparents.

They have talents, dreams and plans for their future. Historical circumstances place responsibility on us, their parents and grandparents, to do our best to enable their future in our time.

That means that we form a tolerant society in which everyone can express themselves freely, but must also respect the dignity and freedom of others.

The responsibility towards our children means that we create a homeland where there is enough space for everyone and no one feels excluded.

The responsibility towards our children means that we form an economically and socially strong and integrated society, which is simultaneously sufficiently competitive and able to generate plenty and do so with excellence, and divide the resultant benefits fairly.

This responsibility means that we develop all elements of our statehood – legal, social, cultural and all others – which serve as tools for our sovereign life within our nation as well as outside in the international community.

The responsibility towards our children means that we encourage all forms of curiosity, searching, new scientific discoveries and technological progress which provide innovative solutions for the new and old problems of the modern world.
This responsibility means that we pay particular attention to our language and culture, which define us as a nation, to maintain and nurture customs, but also develop new ones which will enrich our Slovenian, European and world cultural heritage.

This responsibility means that we preserve a beautiful and healthy environment for our children and their children also on the basis of indisputable scientific findings on climate change. As said before, we are the first generation who is fully and unequivocally aware of that, and the last who can still do something about it.

This responsibility means that all problems are resolved peacefully. We insist that everyone everywhere in this complicated, yet the only world we have, tackle and resolve the most difficult of issues peacefully due to indivisible peace and security.

The responsibility towards our children finally means that we diligently, patiently and actively build our joint European home, our European Union.

For three quarters of a century, it has ensured peace and security in the democratic old continent, and enhanced our general prosperity. Nothing can thus spoil our belief of its irreplaceability for the peace, security and wellbeing of our children.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

the fact that we have an independent state enables us to sovereignly respond to all changes in the global world. I dare to say that we have done and managed quite well in the last almost 30 years.

As a sovereign participant, we belong to the western world, allowing us to develop faster in all fields, feel safe, and nurture and strengthen our national and state character and identity according to our own devices.

We do not know what will happen in the future. But we know that it will be easier to take efficient measures in possible new momentous times because we are sovereign, and we have our own state.

It is somehow part of our national temperament not to celebrate our holidays too impetuously and boisterously, not even Statehood Day. Perhaps this is the right approach.

There may be some folk wisdom in that politics, authority and state should not be celebrated too much, so that neither becomes presumptuous.

But it is advisable to separate to some extent between politics and authority on the one hand and the state as an institution on the other. Politicians and authorities change, but the state remains and must prevail.

How we take care of it and how we develop it may be decisive for our further security and development.

I wish to say that a state bears a value of its own, especially for such a small nation as ours. Let us celebrate it particularly solemnly tonight and tomorrow.

Dear fellow Slovenians at home and around the world, dear fellow citizens,

I would like to sincerely congratulate you on the occasion of Statehood Day. Among other things, I wish that we remain brave. As the proverb says, fortune favours the brave.

But happiness is a very intimate thing. Since our beloved poet Tone Pavček has already been mentioned tonight, let me conclude with his verses.

"Happiness is not in the mind or abroad,
Nor in one’s treasure gained.
Happiness is when work is well done,
And when you love someone."

Good luck, Slovenia.

Speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the main celebration of Statehood Day
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA