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Slovenia Weekly

The first 25 years

24.06.2016

Slovenian flag on top of Slovenian highest mountain Triglav. Photo: Joco Žnidaršič
On 26th June 1991, I was at the Trg Republike square, standing in the crowd that was anxiously awaiting the moment when Slovenia would be declared independent. As a fifteen-year-old, I did not took much notice of words of the then President who said that “today, dreams are allowed, tomorrow is a new day”. However, I do remember the atmosphere; people were full of expectations, excitement and hope. On my way home, not even soldiers on the streets of Ljubljana in the early morning hours were able to drive away the positive feelings.

What happened next is a well known story. The first years of independence were hard, mainly due to the loss of former markets, but Slovenia was soon well on its way. The first international recognitions, membership in the United Nations, EU, NATO and OECD, and adoption of the euro currency were just some of the key milestones, which were accompanied by high economic growth and progress in all areas.

At the moment, it seems that the state is slightly exhausted. The rapid development and intense events in the domestic and foreign policy demanded their toll, as did the global economic crisis that hit the small Slovenian economy very hard. Equally hard to tackle were last year’s migration problems that occurred as a result of climate change combined with the deteriorating geopolitical situation.

But still. Things are slowly turning for the better. Over this past year, Slovenia has recorded economic growth and improved its credit ratings and unemployment rate. While the euphoria from twenty-five years ago might have faded away, people’s expectations are still high. Fortunately, these expectations are the main drive for necessary changes and promotion of new solutions that will help us preserve a humane society.

Tonight’s state ceremony, which will be attended also by Presidents of Italy, Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Germany, may not be a moment to dream but a moment for a realistic reflection on where we stand and where we would like to go in the future. Because tomorrow there will certainly be a new day.


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