Keynote address by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor,
At the main ceremony marking Slovenian Statehood day: "A rainbow for the future"
Ljubljana, 25. 6. 2021 | press release, speech
President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor and Ms Tanja Pečar attended the main ceremony marking Slovenian Statehood Day and the 30th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Slovenia. President Pahor was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
Below is the text of the keynote address by President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor (Check against delivery!)
A rainbow for the future
My fellow Slovenians,
living at home and all around the world,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we celebrate the 30th birthday of our beloved, independent and sovereign Republic of Slovenia. It was happily born into the arms of national unity.
We were united in the plebiscite for an independent and sovereign Republic of Slovenia.
On the basis of the mandate given by the people, we together founded the Republic of Slovenia on this very day 30 years ago. However, the following day, the occupying army began to mobilise its forces.
United, we finally won the war. But the war claimed the lives of our brave patriots. Let us observe a minute of silence to honour their memory and their eternal glory.
(Glory to them)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Unity was crucial to the creation and development of the Slovenian state. We achieved all the great things together. Only by working together can we achieve everything great that we set out to do for our glorious future.
That is why today we celebrate our holiday. Regardless of the political or other differences between us. Differences have always existed, and they always will. They existed during the time of our independence efforts.
Unity about independence did not fall from the sky. It was the result of cooperation. It was the result of the awareness that united we stand, divided we fall.
Today is no different. There are differences. It is about whether we are willing and able to work together to overcome them for a better future.
30 years ago, despite the many differences, we finally agreed on the establishment of our state. It has always been possible, and it will always be possible to find a common path if we truly seek it together.
However, there is talk of political division between us. It is clear that our differences are greater and more pronounced than they usually are. But, in my view, they do not go down very deep among the people. Whoever sincerely tries to form a new consensus will quickly find wide popular support.
After all, it was the very focus on founding our state that led to its creation. If at that crucial time in our history the Demos government had placed political revanchism or something similar alongside the goal of Slovenia's independence, the dream of founding the Slovenian state could have been quickly and dangerously shattered.
The historical merit of the independence government lies not only in the fact that it set itself the goal of founding the Slovenian state, but also that it was mature and wise enough to win over the support of the political opposition for this goal, thus giving impetus to national unity.
The best years of Slovenian statehood are characterised by the efforts to form a national consensus.
The first political and social consensus led to us becoming a democratic society and an independent state.
The second consensus led to us becoming a sovereign and active member of the European and North Atlantic family.
These efforts resulted in remarkable achievements of which we can be truly proud. From united resistance against the aggressor to diplomatic recognition, from outstanding scientific, cultural, technological and sporting achievements to economic and social progress.
Even since, the question has arisen as to when and how we could reach a third development consensus and what could we reach it on.
The health crisis, climate change and new European and global development trends, in plain view of everyone so to speak, have provided us with an opportunity and need to form a consensus on a green and smart Slovenia.
For political cooperation and achieving the necessary unity, it is essential to have a guiding idea, an idea about the future on which we can cooperate and achieve consensus or unity.
Now, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of our wonderful, independent Slovenia and look back proudly on our remarkable achievements, it is the best time to form a consensus on the green and digital, social and economically sustainable development of Slovenia for the next 30 years.
Whoever will be able to present their vision most convincingly and focus completely on that vision, without being tempted to pursue particular party or ideological goals, should not worry about wide popular support.
No political quarrels will stop it, just as they did not stop it 30 years ago, when we finally became an independent state, or almost 20 years ago, when we joined the EU and NATO.
During the 30 years of our statehood, we have learned from our successes and mistakes that Slovenia can fundamentally move forward only with a coalition that is in favour of something, not against something.
A coalition with great goals always builds on what we have in common, not on what divides us, otherwise it cannot be successful.
One such coalition was that of 30 years ago, and such a coalition will be able to secure Slovenia's development towards becoming a green and technologically advanced country by 2050.
It is wonderful that tonight, on this special day, Slovenia is symbolically taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. Together with democracy, the European idea was of constitutional importance for Slovenia's independence. This was the essence of the May Declaration, which was so poetically and solemnly read out by the immortal Tone Pavček in the nearby Congress Square.
Slovenia will take the EU's helm for the second time since joining the European Union. We see this as a compliment and a great responsibility.
During the Presidency, when we will, among other things, chair the Conference on the Future of Europe, we should remind ourselves why we Slovenians believed in the European family in the first place.
We wanted to understand its fundamental values, from media freedom and the rule of law to democracy and human rights, in the same way as Western European Member States did.
We did not refer to the fact that our past was different. It was precisely because of our past that we wanted to have the same understanding of these values. I believe that this understanding must also remain the same today, namely that the entire European Union understands the fundamental values in the same way.
In this respect, a lot is expected from Slovenia in the following six months, and rightly so.
I would like convey to the entire European public that we will do our best on this and on everything that concerns the high-level objectives of the Slovenian Presidency.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude and great optimism. At the most challenging point of the second wave of the epidemic, I visited all thirteen regional civil protection headquarters.
Everyone, professionals and volunteers, did their best to ensure the health and safety of us all. From heads of hospitals and community health centres to local communities and humanitarian organisations.
In the most difficult of times, I witnessed remarkable solidarity and unity. I was able to see up close a mask-covered face of great courage and kindness. This overwhelmed me completely.
These people probably had very different views and beliefs, but they, first and foremost, took care of us and built up our community.
That reminded me of a beautiful rainbow. We are all different, each our own colour, as it were. Which colour can we take away from the rainbow and still call it a rainbow? None.
This is how we should feel about our country and homeland. This is who we are. People of the beautiful rainbow that forms when the sun begins shining again after the rain.
The independent and sovereign Republic of Slovenia is proud of its journey and is already looking to its glorious future.
Sincere congratulations on our holiday.
Long live Slovenia.
Long live the European Union.