Reception by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Slovenia and Ms Tanja Pečar for the Diplomatic Corps at the start of the New Year

Ljubljana, 27. 1. 2014 | press release, speech

Address by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Slovenia

Your Excellency,
Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Excellencies,

please accept once again my best wishes for the year that has already begun. We wish peace, freedom and progress to all the nations and countries that you represent. On behalf of my country, I emphasise a strong and sincere commitment to the continued strengthening of our friendship and cooperation in this context. 

Excellencies,

in terms of overcoming the crisis, this year may be both a turning point and a demanding year for Slovenia. Personally, I believe that these two are related. If at the end of this year, Slovenia is to finally pull out of the crisis, a number of practical measures and structural changes will be required in the process. In political terms, this is a difficult and thankless task. Moreover, in my opinion, this is possible only through considerable cooperation and agreement between all political forces in the country. Let me emphasise that, in view of this, I am ready to offer my best support and assistance. 

The task is made even more difficult because there are no immediate political rewards for taking bold, ambitious and necessary decisions. However, it is also easier, in so far as we have learned in the last five rough years that opportunism and tactical manoeuvres are not rewarded in the long run. Politicians must take into account that people’s patience is limited, which is precisely why they must join forces and take decisive action. 

While it is understandable that, in many respects, people’s confidence and faith in a better future has been undermined, it would be reckless to ignore the fact that the vast majority are willing to understand and accept difficult decisions if politicians can present them in a comprehensible and unified way. It is encouraging that we are starting to believe in good news and good stories as well. It is even more important that we are becoming increasingly confident that we can manage after all. 

Therefore, it is of crucial importance that in the current year the winning mentality prevails over feelings of helplessness and discouragement. It is quite possible that at this event next year, we might be looking back proudly at the work we have done. I am well aware that success largely depends on us alone. 

Excellencies,

it is very important for Slovenia not to be too quickly satisfied with too little success this or next year. We are aware that we need to considerably strengthen the institutions of the rule of law, and in particular, our competitiveness, in order to achieve a long-term recovery and increased sustainable growth and social stability. This is not merely a question of statistical data showing that Slovenia has slipped another eight places down the competitiveness rankings; instead, we are becoming increasingly aware that we can survive in the global economy of the 21st century only if we are able to develop and put all of our competitive advantages to use. I repeat, this is a very difficult task that we political leaders have set ourselves and the people we serve. In fact, in order to succeed, it will be necessary to sweep aside the last traces of political popularity and understand that the only reward will be personal satisfaction. 

Slovenia is aware that there are no other good choices available. Moreover, Slovenia, like many other European partner countries, has to prepare even today for the next crisis that will sooner or later break out in the global market. It would be irresponsible to turn a blind eye to this fact. The crisis that exploded in 2008 could already have been anticipated at the outbreak of the financial turmoil on Wall Street in 2001. 

In a way, the problem with both crises is that their roots have not been eliminated. The global financial industry remains unregulated, and the heritage of this crisis is an even wider gap between rich and poor. The European Union might even be the organisation that has done most to remedy the situation by establishing the banking union and introducing certain other measures. Slovenia is expressing its satisfaction, as well as the desire for a more ambitious plan from the international community. 

The question of whether the international community is able to take the appropriate action to address both phenomena is more relevant than ever. It is ultimately a question of preserving world peace. 

Excellencies,

to be aware of our own responsibility for overcoming the crisis is not, of course, to underestimate European and international circumstances. However, the assessment of the situation one year ago and today shows a shift for the better. The economies of the euro area and the European Union show noticeable signs of recovery, which is of special and positive significance for the export-oriented Slovenian economy. 

Our domestic and European economies are seriously confronted with the issue of their competitiveness in the global economy. The challenge is almost identical. We need to find a new and dynamic balance between competitiveness and social cohesion in the process of economic recovery if this recovery is to be long term. 

This is a challenge of strategic importance also in the light of the future of the European Union. We will monitor the decision of Europeans at the European elections in May this year with great interest. It will at least give us some understanding as to whether, and to what extent, the European Union is regarded as a broader homeland that provides us with peace and prosperity – and to what extent it is not. 

In view of my many appearances at home and around the world where I have expressed my view on the future of the European Union, I believe that there is no need to repeat it at today’s reception. However, let me emphasise that I will not only monitor the decision of Europeans in this year’s elections with interest, but will also make every effort, understandably within the context of limited powers, to ensure the success of policies that favour the continuation and strengthening of the European Union. Stagnation or even the decline of this great idea would push the Slovenian nation and our barely established independent state into harsher and much more unpredictable circumstances. 

The European idea is the fertile soil of our progress. However, it is not to be taken for granted and should be pursued outspokenly through a determined effort. In Europe, some important political forces talk without embarrassment about the disintegration of the European Union as their political objective. Those of us who think differently cannot and must not remain silent. As far as I can assess the mood of Slovenian people, their experience of the European future is encouraging and supportive on this point. 

Excellencies,

last year on this occasion I assured you, with the necessary caution, that we would reach a consensus on the ratification of Croatia’s accession treaty to the EU. And so we did. We honoured our commitments, and we expect that our Croatian friends will honour theirs. When I talked about the need for reconciliation, peace and prosperity and the European perspective of the Western Balkans, I predicted, again with the necessary caution, the revival of the Brdo Process. In the middle of last year, the leaders of this informal initiative met and gave it new impetus. The presence and messages of the French President were very important for the future of this part of Europe. 

I anticipate the forthcoming continuation of this process, perhaps again with an important guest from the European Union. In this context, I take this opportunity to welcome the efforts of Serbia and Kosovo to peacefully resolve bilateral issues. We are pleased with Serbia’s progress in its efforts to join the EU. We will also make this same effort, as far as possible, for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and last but not least, Kosovo. I will endeavour to ensure that, there too, Slovenia is a responsible partner for peace and prosperity in the European Union and the international community. 

Excellencies,

this year, the development of a new strategy in Slovenian foreign policy can be expected. The new feature of this strategy will not mean a change in the permanent orientation of the Slovenian foreign policy, which will remain the same, but rather a focus on the priority tasks of the next decade and on successfully adapting the needs and potential of the Slovenian diplomatic network. 

In any event, the main orientation of our European and foreign policy activities remain the maintenance or strengthening of friendly ties with other nations and states. In particular, we will pursue this end in our relations with those with whom we are linked in political or military alliances, and those with whom we have entered or seek to enter into agreements on strategic partnerships. Excellent political relations must be upgraded with a high level of economic cooperation, without, however, neglecting our responsibilities and the opportunities offered by culture and its power to connect people. 

Excellencies,

please extend, once again, my best wishes at the beginning of this year to the heads of your states, with a sincere hope for the further enhancement of our mutual trust and cooperation for the benefit of the people we represent. 

 

—–

Brdo pri Kranju, 27. januar 2014

Spoštovani doajen diplomatskega zbora,
eskcelence,

sprejmite, tudi po tej poti, vnovične najboljše želje za leto, ki se je že začelo. Vsem narodom in državam, ki jih predstavljate, želimo miru, svobode in napredka. V imenu svoje države v tem smislu poudarjam odločno in iskreno privrženost poglobitvi našega prijateljstva in sodelovanja. 

Eskcelence,

za Slovenijo utegne biti to leto glede izhoda iz krize enako prelomno, kakor je zahtevno. Osebno menim, da je to dvoje povezano. Če naj se konec tega leta Slovenija vendarle povleče iz krize, bo treba kot pogoj za to sprejeti vrsto praktičnih ukrepov in strukturnih sprememb. V političnem smislu je to težka in nehvaležna naloga. Po mojem mnenju pa je poleg vsega izvedljiva le ob precejšnji meri sodelovanja in sloge med vsemi političnimi silami v državi. Naj podčrtam, da sem pri podpori in pomoči glede tega pripravljen storiti vse po svojih najboljših močeh. 

Naloga je toliko težja, ker za potrebne, pogumne in velikopotezne odločitve ni hitrih političnih nagrad. Vseeno pa je lažja v toliko, kolikor smo se iz zadnjih petih surovih let naučili, da pri nikomer dolgoročno nista nagrajena niti oportunost in taktiziranje. Politika mora upoštevati, da je potrpežljivost ljudi omejena, prav zato pa mora s skupnimi močmi odločno ukrepati. 

Razumljivo je, da sta v marsičem načeta zaupanje in vera ljudi v boljšo prihodnost. Bilo pa bi malomarno spregledati, da je velika večina ljudi vendarle pripravljena razumeti in sprejeti težke odločitve. Še zlasti, če jih je politika sposobna razumljivo in enotno predstaviti. Spodbudno je, da začenjamo verjeti tudi v dobre novice in dobre zgodbe. Še pomembnejše pa je, da je vse več samozavesti, da zmoremo. 

V letu, ki se začenja, je torej odločilnega pomena, da zmagovalna miselnost prevlada nad občutkom nemoči in malodušja. Povsem mogoče je, da bomo prihodnje leto na tem dogodku s ponosom pogledali na opravljeno delo. Zavedam pa se, da je uspeh odvisen predvsem od nas samih. 

Eskcelence,

za Slovenijo je zelo pomembno, da v letošnjem ali prihodnjem letu ne bi bila prehitro zadovoljna s premajhnimi uspehi. Zavedamo se, da moramo za naše dolgoročno okrevanje, trajnejšo rast in socialno trdnost bistveno okrepiti institucije pravne države in zlasti konkurenčnost. Ne gre samo za statistični podatek, da je Slovenija na lestvici konkurenčnosti znova zdrsnila za osem mest. 

Gre za vse jasnejše spoznanje, da lahko preživimo v globalnem gospodarstvu 21. stoletja le, če smo sposobni razviti in uveljaviti vse naše konkurenčne prednosti. Ponavljam, to bo zelo težka naloga, ki jo politični voditelji v Sloveniji zastavljamo sebi in ljudem, ki jim služimo. V bistvu bo treba za uspeh postrgati zadnje zalogaje politične popularnosti in razumeti, da se v zameno za to ne dobi nič razen osebnega zadoščenja. 

Slovenija se zaveda, da druge dobre izbire nima. V bistvu se mora tako kakor številne druge evropske partnerske države že danes pripravljati na novo krizo, ki bo prej ali slej izbruhnila na globalnem trgu. Bilo bi neodgovorno, če bi si glede tega zatiskali oči. Krizo, ki je eksplodirala leta 2008, je bilo mogoče slutiti že ob finančnem pretresu na Wall Streetu leta 2001. 

Nekako je bil problem obeh kriz v tem, da nismo odpravili vzrokov zanju. Svetovna finančna industrija ostaja neregulirana, dediščina te krize pa je dodatna poglobitev razlik med bogatimi in revnimi. Z ustanovitvijo bančne unije in nekaterimi drugimi ukrepi je morda še največ storila Evropska unija. Slovenija izraža zadovoljstvo Evropski uniji, hkrati pa tudi željo po smelejšem načrtu širše mednarodne skupnosti. 

Za mednarodno skupnost je bolj kot kdaj prej pomembno vprašanje, ali je sposobna sprejeti ustrezne ukrepe za spopad z obema fenomenoma. Ne nazadnje gre za vprašanje ohranitve svetovnega miru. 

Eskcelence,

zavedanje lastne odgovornosti za izhod iz krize seveda ne podcenjuje evropskih in mednarodnih okoliščin. Toda glede na presojo teh razmer pred enim letom in danes lahko ugotavljamo premik na boljše. Gospodarstvo evrskega območja in Evropske unije vendarle kaže opaznejše znake okrevanja. To je za izvozno naravnano slovensko gospodarstvo posebnega in pozitivnega pomena. 

Sicer pa naše domače in evropsko gospodarstvo močno zadeva vprašanje konkurenčnosti v globalni ekonomiji. Izziv je tako rekoč enak. Med gospodarskim okrevanjem moramo najti, če naj bo to okrevanje dolgoročno, novo, dinamično ravnovesje med konkurenčnostjo in socialno povezanostjo. 

To je izziv strateškega pomena tudi glede prihodnosti Evropske unije. Z velikim zanimanjem bomo spremljali odločitev Evropejcev na evropskih volitvah maja letos. Iz njih bomo mogli vsaj tu in tam razumeti, ali in koliko Evropsko unijo jemljemo kot našo širšo domovino, ki nam zagotavlja mir in blaginjo. In koliko ne. 

Zaradi svojih številnih nastopov doma in po svetu glede lastnega pogleda na prihodnost Evropske unije si dovolim misliti, da ga za potrebe današnjega sprejema ni treba vnovič ponavljati. Vendar naj poudarim, da odločitve Evropejcev na letošnjih volitvah ne bom le z zanimanjem spremljal, temveč se bom po svojih močeh, seveda po omejenih pristojnostih, prizadeval za uspeh politik, ki so naklonjene nadaljevanju in poglobitvi Evropske unije. Zastoj ali celo zaton te velike ideje bi tudi slovenski narod in komaj vzpostavljeno lastno državo pahnil v še veliko težje in še veliko bolj nepredvidljive okoliščine. 

Evropska ideja je humus našega napredka. Ni pa samoumevna in zanjo si je treba brez dlake na jeziku odločno prizadevati. V Evropi imamo opravka s pomembnimi političnimi silami, ki brez zadrege govorijo o tem, da je njihov politični cilj razpad Evropske unije. Tisti, ki mislimo drugače, ne moremo in ne smemo ostati tiho. Kolikor poznam razpoloženje slovenskih ljudi, nas sme njihovo doživljanje evropske prihodnosti pri tem močno opogumljati in spodbujati. 

Eskcelence,

lani ob tej priložnosti sem vam s potrebno mero previdnosti zagotovil, da bomo dosegli soglasje o ratifikaciji Hrvaške pristopne pogodbe z EU. In smo ga. Držali smo se naših zavez in pričakujemo, da se jih bodo tudi naši hrvaški prijatelji. Ko sem govoril o potrebi po spravi, miru in blaginji ter evropski perspektivi Zahodnega Balkana, sem s potrebno mero previdnosti napovedal oživitev procesa Brdo. Sredi prejšnjega leta smo se sestali vsi voditelji te neformalne pobude in ji dali nov zagon. Navzočnost in sporočila francoskega predsednika so bili za prihodnost tega dela Evrope zelo pomembni. 

Pričakujem skorajšnje nadaljevanje tega procesa, morda znova s pomembnim gostom iz Evropske unije. V tem smislu izkoriščam priložnost, da pozdravim prizadevanje Srbije in Kosova za mirno reševanje dvostranskih vprašanj. Veseli smo napredka Srbije pri približevanju Evropski uniji. Kolikor bo mogoče, se bomo glede tega trudili tudi za Bosno in Hercegovino, Makedonijo in ne nazadnje za Kosovo. Prizadeval si bom, da bo Slovenija tudi na ta način odgovorna partnerica miru in blaginje v Evropski uniji in mednarodni skupnosti. 

Eskcelence,

letos v slovenski zunanji politiki lahko pričakujemo oblikovanje nove strategije. Njena novost ne bo v spremembi trajnih usmeritev slovenske zunanje politike, ki ostajajo enake, temveč v osredotočanju na prednostne naloge v prihodnjem desetletju ter na uspešno prilagoditev potreb in možnosti slovenske diplomatske mreže. 

Vsekakor pa ostaja osrednja usmeritev našega evropskega in zunanjepolitičnega delovanja vzdrževanje ali krepitev prijateljskih vezi z drugimi narodi in državami. Še zlasti si bomo za to prizadevali v odnosih s tistimi, s katerimi smo povezani v politična ali vojaška zavezništva, oziroma tistimi, s katerimi imamo ali želimo skleniti sporazume o strateškem partnerstvu. Odlični politični odnosi morajo biti dopolnjeni z visoko ravnjo gospodarskega sodelovanja, ne smemo pa zanemariti niti naše odgovornosti in priložnosti, ki nam jo dajeta kultura in njena moč povezovanja ljudi. 

Eskcelence,

prosim, prenesite na začetku letošnjega leta še enkrat moje najboljše želje suverenom vaših držav, z iskrenim upanjem v krepitev našega medsebojnega zaupanja in sodelovanja v korist ljudi, ki jih predstavljamo. 

 

 

 

 

  EMBASSY OF THE SOVEREIGN ORDER OF MALTA TO THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA  
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