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Press release

Address by the PM Cerar at the opening of Bled Strategic Forum


Dear Mr President, madam Prime Minister,

Dear Excellencies and other distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Welcome to the Bled Strategic forum 2017.

 

Ongoing globalization, climate change and other global challenges of our time are profoundly changing our societies and the way of life. Digitalization and new technologies are making the world smaller. They became the key driver of progress in society. In general, people and businesses have better opportunities than ever before.

 

However, with these changes also came divisions and growing inequality. This has also resulted in general distrust of institutions and of mainstream politics. Moreover, we are faced with growing environmental problems and new challenges undermining peace and security around the world. This is a new reality. Especially for Europe, where in general we had decades of peace and prosperity. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

The challenges we are facing demand new approaches. There are not many examples in the past that we can use. When I say challenges, I particularly mean the growing inequalities, climate change and security issues. I am aware that there are many more, but these influence every continent, every country, every society and in the end – every individual.

 

Challenges to our security are becoming a global problem. Very few places in the world have not been affected by various security threats. For example, terrorism has become a global issue. Therefore, most of the security threats of the modern world cannot be addressed separately or partially by any country, be it large or small. This is why deeper awareness of these phenomena is needed as well as understanding to address them comprehensively.

 

Climate change is a fact and it has always been a global. What we do at one part of the planet will have consequences everywhere and for everyone. I cannot envisage a sustainable solution that would not include us all, be it post-industrialized countries striving for green economy or countries whose development is still largely based on exploiting natural resources. We must find a way for all to modernize in sustainable way that would enable us to prosper without endangering our planet.

 

As I have mentioned, globalization also brings divisions and inequality. Between countries as well as within them. These inequalities increase divisions and frustrations. Millions want to migrate to safer and more prosperous parts of the world. Many succeed in their striving for better life and many more do not.  I strongly believe that we must do much more to help this people to live safely and with dignity in their own countries. Prosperity and well-being for all in secure and healthy environment has to be in the forefront of national and international political engagement.  

 

Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,

 

Our continent is far from being immune from the challenges of our time. However, Europe must remain at the forefront when it comes to addressing the contemporary global challenges that I mentioned. To be able to do so we must unite around our common values and decide what kind of future we want to live in.

 

The crises of last decade have revealed certain shortcomings of the European integration. Some of those have already been successfully addressed, some are still burdening us. One member even opted to leave the Union. As a strong believer in the European integration, I can say that I regret this decision. Yet, I do respect the democratic will and hope the process will be resolved to the benefit of the people. 

 

Still, all these tests are making the European Union stronger. And we are adamant to move on. There is a strong commitment of my colleagues around the table of the European Council to adapt to the new environment and build the future of the Union together.

 

Doing that, we always need to believe in the power of dialogue and actively work on acceptable compromises. In doing so, our citizens need to be explained properly where we are going, why the changes are needed and why compromises need to be made.

 

However, there are areas where compromises cannot be made –above all democracy and respect for the rule of law. As it seems that the question of the rule of law comes into question lately, we need to be aware that not respecting it gives rise to distrust and thus undermines the endeavors for solving other topical issues. Moreover, it undermines the sole existence of democracy as there cannot be a democracy without respecting the legal rules and principles, equally binding for us all. Thus it undermines the European Union as such.

 

Accordingly, Slovenia is determined to implement the Arbitration award that defined the border on land and sea between Slovenia and Croatia. Our aim is to achieve this goal through dialogue with our neighbor. With the award, legally binding for both sides, the two countries would finally close an important chapter that is troubling relations between our countries for decades and thus give a new impetus for enhancing cooperation in all fields. It would also give a very positive example for the Western Balkans how lasting solutions for such important issues can be achieved.

 

Let me be very clear. As we talk about addressing the new reality, I do not see it without respecting the rule of law. So, if Croatia will not be sincerely willing to implement the Award, my government will find the way to provide for its implementation thus protecting the rule of law.

 

Honorable guests,

 

As far as the European Union is concerned I find it most important that until spring, we need concrete decisions and consequent actions to make:

- the Union safer and more secure,

- migration and asylum policy more effective and solidary,

- development policy stronger,

- our Economic and monetary union completed and thus more resilient,

- our internal market modernized and deepened and

- the Union more sensitive to social questions.

 

In other words, we need more integrated European Union, build on the fundamental values and principles, a champion of the rule of law, capable of properly addressing the challenges of our time.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

If we want to address those challenges effectively, we have to join forces, work together, act boldly and prudently. As great thinkers say, “the future depends on what we do in the present.” I sincerely believe that this – the right actions today - is the only way to protect our planet and provide international security and wellbeing for the generations to come.  

 

I wish you lots of good ideas and excellent staying in Slovenia.

 

Thank you.