Welcome address by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr Borut Pahor, at the event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty
Ljubljana, 22. 1. 2013 | speech
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great honour to mark this historic anniversary of the Élysée Treaty. Fifty years ago, French President Charles de Gaulle and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer signed a commitment to multifaceted cooperation. The Treaty solidified the friendship between their two countries and nations, while giving fresh impetus to European cooperation. The reconciliation and peace between the two major powers in Western Europe enshrined in the Élysée Treaty added new dimensions that later functioned as a pillar of peace and prosperity across Europe.
Europe saw many wars in the previous centuries. In the last century alone, it was tormented by two world wars. France and Germany fought on the opposing sides in both. Words cannot describe the tragedies of their people and other nations caught in the turmoil of war, including Slovenes. Their firm stance against retaliation coupled with their ability to forgive and reconcile for the sake of peace and security for coming generations has made their act all the more noble and far-sighted.
The European idea is based on reconciliation and the promotion of what we have in common. This is not to say that we should simply forget but, quite to the contrary, that we should always remember. Peace has never come on its own and never will; therefore, it should not be taken for granted. Peace is a fundamental choice that has to be nourished with good and small deeds every day. At a strategic level, however, peace has to be supported with decisions that strengthen international respect and trust, and promote the peaceful resolution of disputes, and cooperation in various fields.
Tonight, we pay tribute to the statesmanlike wisdom inspired by peace and prosperity for the people. Although in the beginning this was German-Franco wisdom and maturity, it was later adopted by all of us with the idea of a united Europe. In light of this, we aspire to become the proud heirs of a mission that is the only guarantee of a peaceful and secure future.
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA
This splendid heritage secured the longest period of peace on the old continent – with the exception of the war in the Balkans which must be in this respect taken as a warning. If we do not want to be instilled only with pride but also want to assume responsibility and become equally wise contemporary statesmen of the European idea, it is crucial that we now furnish this idea with new qualities. I am personally a staunch supporter of a politically stronger European Union. I am not saying this on behalf of the state that I represent because I do not have a mandate to do so, but I would like to avail myself of this celebratory opportunity to again highlight the significance of German-Franco cooperation, and reiterate my faith and belief that this cooperation will also contribute to a strengthened European Union in political terms.
I am personally here referring to the united states of Europe. In comparison to the United States of America, Europe must not and will not become a melting pot erasing national and other characteristics of European nations and states. Difficulties in tackling the global crisis will further accelerate the process of political unification. The spirit of the Élysée Treaty will be present throughout this process.
On behalf of Slovenia and in my own name, I would like to ask your Excellencies, the Ambassador of the French Republic, Mr Pierre François Mourier, and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Werner Burkart, to convey sincere congratulations and the assurances of highest consideration to the French and German Presidents respectively.
Long live the German-Franco reconciliation! Long live pan-European friendship and cooperation! Long live the European Union!
Vive la réconciliation franco-allemande! Vive l'amitié et la coopération européennes! Vive l'Union européenne!
Hoch lebe die deutsch-französische Versöhnung! Hoch lebe die gesamteuropäische Freundschaft und Zusammenarbeit! Hoch lebe die Europäische Union!
Photo: Stanko Gruden/STA