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Slovenian president Borut Pahor at the main celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia

Rijeka, 10. 5. 2022 | press release

President Pahor was the keynote speaker at celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia taking place today, 10 May 2022, in Rijeka. President Pahor used the opportunity to pass on an official presidential thank-you to the association for its tireless work for the Slovenian community in Croatia, its invaluable contribution to preserving Slovenian culture and language, and its commitment to the all-round development of Slovenes in Croatia and to creating understanding between these two neighbouring nations and countries.

Slovenian president Borut Pahor at the main celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Mr Pahor congratulated the association for 30 years of work, and stressed that this was something that the whole Slovenian community in Croatia should celebrate. He expressed his satisfaction that the hosts had chosen Rijeka as the site of the celebrations – a city synonymous with multiculturalism and, in many aspects, one that demonstrates the link with the ‘mother nation’ and the excellent relations between the Slovenian and Croatian people. He also stressed how valuable it was that the Slovenes in Croatia were strongly involved in the local environment through their work, and cooperated well with the majority population and other national communities. Addressing the members of the association, he said: ‘This makes you a bridge between nations and countries, but you are also much more than that. I want to thank you because when you enrich your own identity, you enrich that of the whole of Slovenia and of the majority population as well.’ The president also reminded those gathered of the importance of good neighbourly relations and cross-border ties, particularly at times of crisis.

He stressed how vital it was that those relations be nurtured with care and that Slovenes and Croats work together to cultivate the European idea and build on all that binds us together. ‘There are many things that connect us – and that is where we should join forces,’ he said. ‘Above all we are neighbours: two nations that have never been at war, which is a rarity in the European Union, two nations that understand each other without the need for translators, and two nations that respect each other. It is up to all of us to ensure, at all times and particularly during tough times, that we nurture good neighbourly relations and friendship carefully.’ He stressed the importance of having a partner and ally as a neighbour, especially in the currently unpredictable international environment. ‘This gives us security,’ he said, adding that it was alliance, good neighbourly relations and partnership between the two countries that allowed us to resolve, to our mutual benefit and through dialogue and respectful conversation, those issues on which we diverged. He added that we never knew when we night have to defend together the values that underpin us as nations and countries. ‘While I hope that never happens, we are seeing some signals not far from our borders that remind us of the wars that have taken place since 1945,’ he added.

President Pahor finished by saying that he was happy that Croatia was also a member of the European Union, adding that he would like to see Croatia ‘enter Schengen soon and adopt the euro, and for a whole range of bilateral relations, which have largely been resolved with the ruling of the court of arbitration on the border dispute between the two countries, to be strengthened. We must do all we can to reach an understanding as friends and neighbours,’ he added.

Slovenian president Borut Pahor at the main celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Slovenian president Borut Pahor at the main celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA