Ceremonial address by President Pahor at the main Statehood Day celebration: FOUNDING OUR OWN STATE IS PROOF THAT TOGETHER WE CAN DO ANYTHING
Ljubljana, 24. 6. 2022 | press release
President Borut Pahor and Tanja Pečar tonight took part in the main celebrations marking Statehood Day and the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence. The president was the honorary speaker at the celebrations.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
Below is the text of the keynote address by President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor (Check against delivery!)
FOUNDING OUR OWN STATE IS PROOF THAT TOGETHER WE CAN DO ANYTHING
This we were able to do at a time of momentous historic change thirty years ago, and this we can do together in the upheaval that lies ahead.
My fellow Slovenes, here and all over the world, esteemed compatriots, Your Excellencies, dear friends.
Tonight we are celebrating the founding of our own independent state.
Many nations larger than ours yearn to do so, but are still without it.
We have ours.
It’s not perfect, but it’s ours.
Perhaps no other critical historical event is as important to our future as the founding of our state.
This miracle on the sunny side of the Alps came to pass thirty years ago, when history was moving fast.
Let us remember that time.
The old continent was undergoing dramatic changes heading into the nineties. There was a democratic political spring from the Baltic to the Adriatic, and Slovenia was no exception, as it outgrew the ruins of communist autocracy. The Berlin Wall fell. The post-war division of the world into blocs disappeared, and a new geopolitics was born in the image of a free and united Europe,
In the renaissance of the democratic and geopolitical transformation, we Slovenes saw the chance to found our own state.
And in a superlative effort, we were able to take that chance.
We succeeded because we understood all of those changes. We succeeded because we came to a democratic consensus about them. We succeeded because we helped to make those changes ourselves.
We were not the cold subject of history. We were not missing the historical boat.
We were masters of our own fate. We made the future in our own image.
Tonight we are celebrating our capabilities. We know that we can do it.
We have historical proof that nothing is impossible for us if we want it together.
We therefore joined the European Union and Nato of our own sovereign volition, and became an active part of the Western world and an upstanding member of the international community.
Slovenia has evolved into one of the safest countries in the world.
Over these thirty years and more we could not achieve everything, and there was much we did not succeed at. This we can blame on not knowing how to, on not being able to, or even on not wanting to spread wide open the wings of our capabilities.
Perhaps we didn’t have the necessary vision, or the right leadership was missing, or ultimately we lacked the stubborn will to work together.
But nevertheless at this moment, at the dawn of a new age of historical upheaval, my feeling is that our Slovenia, our common home, is set on solid foundations, ready to face the changes, and to turn them to the benefit of our common endeavour.
I would like all of us to understand that the period ahead of us is highly unlikely to be a time of the usual problems and simple solutions.
Much as it was thirty years ago and more.
We are entering a highly complex and involved time in Europe and all over the world.
Ukraine has been attacked and is at war. Together with our allies we will help them to the best of our ability, and we will not leave them to their fate. It is likely that the war will not be short, and will have huge geopolitical, economic, social and purely human consequences for Europe and the world.
But it is vital that we achieve a just peace, otherwise it will not last long.
The changes already underway are colossal.
Two countries that have maintained neutrality for almost two centuries now want to join Nato. Nearly all countries are arming themselves. Some rather a lot! A number of countries that until yesterday were committed to a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuels have even been compelled by the new circumstances to go back to using coal. We are facing the dangers of food and energy insecurity.
It was thought that the significant financial support provided by governments to the public during the global health crisis, which itself might not yet be over, would be repaid with strong economic growth afterwards.
But high inflation, driven in part by the war, is now slowing the recovery and undermining the foundations of social stability.
In short, together with the whole developed world we are facing a period in which it will be vital to resolve the built-up problems patiently, diligently and prudently.
My dear friends,
We are very fortunate in these circumstances to have our own state, where we can make our own decisions, and also to be a member of the European Union, where we can make joint decisions collectively.
In these circumstances we must further strengthen all the elements of statehood, and strengthen democracy, its institutions and its values.
Our state was born in the very heart of democratisation and the Slovenian political spring. Democracy is the holy grail of our state.
We must be vigilant in ensuring that political differences do not grow into divisions. This would paralyse us when difficult decisions are needed. We simply cannot afford to let this happen.
At this time we must do everything we can to look after the European Union, our broader homeland.
I cannot emphasise enough how important it will be in the coming years and decades.
At the same time we must ensure that the European Union is stronger, both inwardly and outwardly.
We must also take care, in this even more connected Europe, to preserve our identity and all those special qualities that underpinned the founding of our state.
In the upcoming period of fast-moving history, making decisions on the future of Europe for the Slovenian nation and for our state, and also for much more and everyone else, will be no mere academic discussion.
It will be in our most vital interests.
It is my opinion that the future of Slovenia will depend largely on the success or failure of the renaissance of the European ideal, deepening cooperation between countries, and the maintenance of their unity.
Slovenia’s peace, security and welfare are and will continue to be crucially dependent on the peace, security and welfare of the European Union.
The future of Slovenia is, in essence, the future of the European Union.
In short, if we were capable of creating the conditions for founding our own state in a time of great historical change just over thirty years ago, in this new challenging time that lies ahead of us we should be capable of making a lasting green, digital transformation, with all due care for our country and for the European Union.
My dear friends,
Amid all these concerns, we should remember that thirty years ago and more we had so much greater concerns.
But the dawning hope generated by democratisation and independence was greater than every single concern or fear.
That hope became so much more tangible, the more we talked about and agreed about founding our own state.
At that time we were much more dependent on one another than we are today.
This awareness bound us together even more at that time.
We stood together, and amid all the differences in the volatile international situation we proclaimed the independence of our state, and defended it and established it in the international community.
We spread the wings of our capabilities wide open.
We did not just exploit the window of historical opportunity, as we like to say. It was us ourselves who created the conditions in which it was possible to achieve all of this.
And so thirty years and more later, when we have our own state and we are a solid, upstanding part of the European family and the Western world, we have no cause for passive submission to fate, despondency or even fear.
Through the momentous experience of founding and developing our own state, we have built ourselves up as a civic national community. More at ease and comfortable with itself. More sensitive to justice and injustice. More connected, with greater solidarity, and the great human warmth of simple people.
We have built ourselves as a community that also knows how to be confident, ambitious and proud.
Our children are now growing up in such a community. They are watching us and learning from us.
As president and as a father, I want them to see hope in us, to fire their imagination and inspire their talents.
In the coming time of upheaval, all of us want to be able to build something together that we will be able to talk about with pride at celebrations in thirty years’ time.
If we do not give in to hate, and do not exclude one another,
if we talk to one another,
if we listen to one another,
if we respect one another,
if we encourage one another,
if we help one another,
if we build a connected community of solidarity, almost anything is achievable.
We can do it, together we can do it. Please accept my warmest congratulations on this, the birthday of our beautiful country.
Good luck, Slovenia.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA