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Press release

Prime minister: Slovenia remains a solid and determined cornerstone in the European mosaic. You can continue to count on us in the future.

 

To mark the 15th anniversary of Slovenia joining the European Union, a grand celebration entitled Mosaic of the Future was held at Brdo Congress Centre. In his speech at the event, Slovenian prime minister Marjan Šarec emphasised that Slovenia remains a solid and determined cornerstone in the European mosaic. The guest of honour at the celebrations was Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg, current holder of the Benelux presidency, who also gave a keynote speech at the event.

Mr Šarec began by reminding the guests of the milestones in Slovenia’s history being celebrated by Slovenia and Europe as a whole at this time, and expressed his satisfaction in being able to welcome the prime minister of Luxembourg, one of the most active founder members of the EU, and also the current holder of the Benelux presidency, a union of countries that have in recent times worked particularly closely with Slovenia.

He went on to emphasise the importance of the EU and Slovenia’s place in it: “We Slovenes are always clear advocates of a stable, strong, united Europe, governed by respect and trust. This conviction comes from the experience of our history. It was also for this reason that we quickly reached a consensus in deciding to join the most integrated part of the Union, to actively shape our common future. And this is also why we are so much more sensitive when someone fails to respect our values and our rules, the key ties that bind our community. The European Union is our home. We are proud of it, and we believe in it. In good times, and in tougher times.” He also touched on questions that have often been aired recently, such as what the EU has actually brought us, and repeated that the decision to join the EU was the right one, despite expectations perhaps having been slightly too high for many: “It is by some distance the best thing we have achieved in recent history. Thanks to this decision, we have become better, stronger and more self-confident.”

He also noted that Slovenia needs to be more decisive, courageous and far-reaching in its actions in the EU, and that often we do not know how to be confident enough in ourselves and to appreciate the great achievements that we have been a part of:
“It’s entirely clear that not everything is ideal inside the European Union, and thus an honest appraisal and critical view are needed. Not with the aim of knocking down our common home, but with the aim of improving the living conditions in it.” He spoke of the upcoming elections to the European parliament, and said that the new five-year term would be an opportunity for the EU to become more effective in addressing certain issues. He said that this would require us to understand the challenges of the future, to remove existing internal obstacles, to appreciate the interconnected fate of people, the economy and nature, to focus more on areas such as science, innovation, sustainable development, artificial intelligence, cyber security and the ageing population, and to understand the importance of economic and social cohesion in the EU, and the stability and development of its neighbourhood. It would have to encourage the key changes needed for greater robustness and competitiveness in our economies, and above all for a better, cleaner environment for future generations. In designing a strategic agenda for the next five years, all of this will be important in reaching an agreement on the next financial framework as soon as possible. The prime minister ended by saying that the EU is a symbol of freedom, stability and progress: “It is the mosaic of the future, where the whole is much, much greater than the sum of its parts. But each of them relentlessly adds its own value. Slovenia remains a solid and determined cornerstone in the European mosaic. You can continue to count on us in the future.”

Mr Bettel began by congratulating Slovenia on the 15th anniversary of its membership of the EU, and expressed his thanks for its contribution to strengthening the EU. He said that since joining the EU, Slovenia has undoubtedly established itself not only as a solid economy and a wonderful holiday destination, but also as a reliable and trusted pro-European partner and a “voice of reason” when it comes to the future of the EU. According to Mr Bettel, membership of the EU has strengthened Slovenia’s sovereignty and its international position, and like Luxembourg it is now a core member of the organisation. He also noted the many common values and views that unite Slovenia and the Benelux countries, and reiterated that he looks forward to working closely together with Slovenian partners in the future, as small countries should join forces and cooperate more closely to successfully defend their shared interests. He spoke of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2021, and expressed his conviction that it will be yet another occasion for Slovenia to showcase its potential and to strengthen its position in the EU.