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The President of the Republic of Slovenia: Trgovski dom, a symbol of the Slovenian presence in Gorizia, has embarked on a new phase in cross-border co-existence.

Gorizia, Italy, 6. 12. 2013 | press release, speech


The President of the Republic of Slovenia: Trgovski dom, a symbol of the Slovenian presence in Gorizia, has embarked on a new phase in cross-border co-existence.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, today visited Gorizia (Italy), where he attended a ceremonial meeting of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation GO (EGTC GO) at the renovated Trgovski dom (House of Commerce). Earlier, the Slovenian President visited the University of Nova Gorica at Lanthieri Mansion in Vipava, where he took a tour of the renovated mansion and met students of the School for Viticulture and Enology. In the course of the visit to Gorizia, the Slovenian President, accompanied by the President of the Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Debora Serracchiani, also visited the School of Arts of the University of Nova Gorica.

The purpose of President Pahor's visit to Gorizia was to show support for cross-border cooperation between, and the integration of, Slovenia and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. At the ceremonial meeting of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation GO, the Slovenian President and the President of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Debora Serracchiani, talked primarily about strategic areas of cross-border cooperation that have development potential and could stimulate economic development and ensure the social security of people living in this region.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, today visited Gorizia (Italy), where he attended a ceremonial meeting of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation GO (EGTC GO) at the renovated Trgovski dom (House of Commerce).
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA


Below is the address of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at today's ceremony.

Dear President of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, President of the Province of Gorizia, Mayors, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we are witnessing a particularly important event. We have gathered here in the renovated Trgovski dom in the centre of Gorizia to attend a ceremonial meeting of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation. This is a solemn occasion for me, as President of Slovenia and as a convinced European and native of Primorska, who grew up in a multicultural environment and believes in our common future and cooperation. The event is important because it recognises the indigenous Slovenian minority in this area in a way that reveals new horizons for its survival and strengthening, and especially because it puts a seal of sincerity, mutual respect and cooperation on Slovenian-Italian friendship.
Trgovski dom, a symbol of the Slovenian presence in Gorizia, has embarked on a new phase in cross-border co-existence. In future, it will house the head office of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation. I hope, together with you, that this will be a source of inspiration for the peaceful and secure future of our children and that they will be proud to be Slovenians, Italians or Friulians, but also equally proud to be Europeans.

After close to a decade of cohabitation in the European Union, the idea of a united Europe can be seen in its most elementary form here in Gorizia today. Cross-border programmes supported by European Structural and Cohesion Funds are weaving economic, cultural and educational ties. All this is the expression of a wish to rise above historical wounds, grudges and prejudices. It is creating the foundations of a wonderful future, when everyone can maintain his or her identity while developing a common identity with others. The Gorizia regions on both sides of the border, which is increasingly disappearing in our minds, share centuries of history. They have woven numerous cultural, linguistic and human ties and given us an exceptional cultural heritage, almost unparalleled in Europe. There have been moments that should be considered as reminders, and I will strive to ensure that they are not forgotten. I will strive to ensure that this heritage, as well as the natural pearls of the Gorizia region landscape, grow into development potential and become a generator of economic development, the social security of our people and a strong internal motive to strengthen everything we have in common.

I am very sorry that we have not taken full advantage of the potential offered by the programmes and funds of the European Union in recent years. We have too often let administrative issues restrict the realisation of shared ideas that would have facilitated the merging of this area. We cannot turn back time. However, we can increase our pace, remove the historical delay and bravely set new milestones and create new visions, starting today.
Under the new Financial Perspective (2014–2020), even fewer funds are earmarked for cross-border projects. Only EUR 15 million on the Slovenian side. Therefore, we have to focus on the most strategic projects that will promote the creation of new jobs, particularly for young people, who are feeling the consequences of the crisis the most. University cooperation is especially important in this regard.
At the same time, we have to be more innovative and creative in preparing cross-border projects, so that they can also be financed from other sources and programmes. We have to design comprehensive territorial investments which will cover a wider area and more structured projects.

I am declaring my particular support for the development of a joint tourist offer for Gorizia and Nova Gorica, for the integration of higher education and cross-border economic cooperation and for strengthening all other joint projects, to make them more attractive, competitive and successful. The European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation is a mechanism for realising this potential. The establishment of a joint university covering the subject of the European Union, which would draw together promising young intellectuals from this area, would have a particularly important effect. I am convinced that brave and enterprising cross-border cooperation with regions in Italy, Austria and Germany will place us even closer to the centre of the most integrated and developed part of Europe, which is our home. In my very personal opinion, the answer to the question of this area’s future can be found only in enhanced regional integration in the territory of the former Alps–Adriatic Working Community. Therefore, I am very much looking forward to today's ceremonial meeting of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation in the renovated Trgovski dom and to meeting the President of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Ms Debora Serracchiani. I am very grateful to her for her contribution to cross-border integration and to the development of the border area. Allow me to conclude by expressing my thanks to the three mayors in the border regions, Mr Matej Arčon, Mr Milan Turk and Mr Ettore Romoli, who are showing a perfect synergy in the common Gorizia area.

Today is a good day. It fills us with hope for the future. What is more important to us, responsible citizens and parents, than a peaceful, secure and beautiful future for our children?