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The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the President of the National Assembly, Janko Veber, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, on the future of Europe with young people

Ljubljana, 14. 3. 2014 | press release

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, received Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, who is on an official visit to the Republic of Slovenia. The presidents first had a private meeting, followed by a discussion on the future of Europe with young people at the National Assembly, which was hosted by the President of the National Assembly, Janko Veber.

In the discussion, which was based on questions posed by young people, a great deal of attention was paid to the future of a Europe characterised by economic and financial crisis, and to the position of young people, who, due to high unemployment, are finding it hard to gain their independence and are seeking better opportunities outside the EU. Presidents Pahor and Schulz also spoke briefly about the crisis in Ukraine, and agreed that dialogue between the parties to the conflict is required to prevent armed conflict or the break-up of the country.

he President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the President of the National Assembly, Janko Veber, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, on the future of Europe with young people
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

During the discussion, Presidents Pahor and Schulz presented their respective positions on the future of Europe and emphasised that they were both great advocates of the European idea. Both speakers highlighted that the European Union was based on mutual respect between Member States and that Europeans could be really strong only if they stood together.

The President Pahor, stressed the significance of a dynamic balance between the European social model and global competitiveness, since, to increase competitiveness, social differences between rich and poor should be reduced rather than social rights. He reemphasised that peace should not be taken for granted and that only together can we protect it from the pressures of great global powers.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia also drew attention to the fact that through technological and social development, the 21st century had created a new reason for global conflicts, i.e. social inequality.

The President of the European Parliament agreed that Europe was the richest continent, and that wealth must be distributed evenly. He presented a proposal for a minimum wage which would be calculated on the basis of the GDP of each Member State. He also said that he would strive for better regulation of traineeship, which is too frequently abused to exploit young people.

According to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, the key to reducing unemployment among young people is support for small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the driving force of the European economy and employ most people. At the same time, investment capacity in the EU must be enhanced. He agreed with President Pahor that the European Union was an assurance of peace and acknowledged that the European Union had problems, but that the European idea was still a better solution for our continent.

When asked by young people about the events in Ukraine, especially Crimea, Presidents Pahor and Schulz expressed their belief that dialogue between the parties to the conflict would bring new hope and a solution to the crisis. Although many believe that the European project has lost its lustre and people are occasionally disappointed by the EU, especially during the crisis, Martin Schulz said that the flags in Kiev’s Independent Square confirmed that the EU remains a community of values and freedom that many wish to enter. President Pahor said that there was no doubt that Russia had violated the Budapest Memorandum (1994), which explicitly bound the Russian Federation to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. The President added that he was not claiming that the Ukrainian side had made no mistakes, but that this was no excuse to breach international law. “I hope that a reasonable way will be found to facilitate a just solution. Until this option exists, we must strive for such a solution.” President Pahor reiterated his belief that Europe was the solution, not the problem, first and foremost, by its assurance of peace.