Nagovor predsednika Državnega zbora Igorja Zorčiča na slavnostni seji ob 30. obletnici samostojnosti Slovenije (v angleškem jeziku)
SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMMEMORATING THE
Citizens of the Republic of Slovenia,
Generations of our forefathers dreamt of living in a country they could call their own and these aspirations are recorded in the verses, ideas, and memoires of leading Slovenian cultural figures, intellectuals, and politicians. The road to making these dreams a reality was long. As a nation, we fought for our very existence with the victims of World War II, resisting the occupying forces that condemned us to destruction, as well as during the War of Independence when we defied the Yugoslav People’s Army. Thirty years ago to the day – on 25 June 1991 – our dream became a reality when the Republic of Slovenia formally became independent, celebrating its independence during a ceremony on Republic Square a day later.
We managed to establish our own country through sheer force of will and courage. Today, we proudly recall these unforgettable moments when we gained independence. We also celebrate these key moments for their extraordinary ability to bring together almost all Slovenians. Even though our history is fraught with milestones that divide us in one way or another, we knew those 30 years ago that there could be no room for division. The vision of an independent Slovenia was powerful and the opportunity for realising it unique.
Thirty years ago, we had a clear vision of what we hoped to achieve as a society and what kind of country we wanted to live in. Our later key achievements enabled us to join the European Community that has, for the past 17 years, allowed Slovenia to develop alongside other European nations as an equal partner.
Slovenia will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the second time since joining the EU. It is undoubtedly a good opportunity for us to demonstrate and prove our commitment to the values and the idea of the European Union. It is without a doubt also an excellent opportunity to help improve it.
Global crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, are a call to cooperate both within the European Union and further afield. It is important we treat less developed countries as global partners. The present crisis has also been a sobering experience, showing us that simply talking about solidarity and taking concrete action are not one and the same.
We have lived through 15 anxious months of the pandemic. The kind of negative impact on the economy, social distress, altered habits, and the ever present feeling of uncertainty caused by the crisis will require responsible action in future as well. We are all tired of the various measures and restrictions, but we will nevertheless persevere. We always have!
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our country is not only a source of pride, but also requires commitment and a sense of responsibility. The responsibility of safeguarding democracy and Slovenia’s reputation in the European and international community, as well as all-round progress and prosperity. We must therefore strive to make it a symbol of tolerance and of cultural dialogue, a place where insults are not used to win arguments and where people with diverging opinions are not considered enemies. We must also finally begin to see our country as a kind of national silverware, passed down from generation to generation, not something to be looted.
Let us also set a good example for our children by showing them we can overcome the burdens of history, by showing them how crucial their involvement actually is in creating a common future, and that we understand how important it is that they feel like Slovenia’s best days lie yet ahead.
Allow me to read a few well-wishes expressed by children and young people during their recent visit to the National Assembly:
“My wish is that Slovenia continue to be our caring mother, safe for all its citizens...”
These sincere wishes, written in this home of democracy, go beyond any political wrangling.
What more can we wish for Slovenia?
Ladies and gentlemen,
The veneration of courageous decisions, the profound gratitude we feel for the brave actions taken by some of our citizens, especially the heroes that died in the Slovenian War of Independence, mingled with the pride that comes with living a free life in an independent country, symbolically all intersect as the past, present, and future in this very building. In our National Assembly. This building is the cradle of Slovenian statehood. It is here that we adopted the legal framework for Slovenian statehood. It is here that our country has grown and developed during these past thirty years. While the decisions being adopted at this time might not be as history-making as three decades ago, the future of our country matters to our citizens just as much as the here-and-now, which is why they continue to have high expectations.
Contemporary challenges require joint discussions, responses, solutions, and concrete action. Access to suitable healthcare, equal educational and employment opportunities, housing policy, the environment – all these issues require cooperation and will not be resolved on their own. Above all, these are not issues that can be solved through egotism and the pursuit of self-interest.
let us ask ourselves what kind of Slovenia we would like to live in. The kind where no one is every overlooked? The kind that guarantees an independent judiciary? The kind where press-freedoms are understood to be crucial? Ladies and gentlemen, these kinds of goals are worthy of pursuit! There is not room for excuses that seek to undermine our independence goals, like a shadow from the past.
There are two million of us.
And together we represent our homeland.
Let us work to ensure that young people can look forward to a bright future.
Many happy returns, Slovenia, and congratulations on Statehood Day.