The Slovenia Times

Focus on lives of citizens urged at independence ceremony


Bervar told the ceremony in Ljubljana's Cankarjev dom centre that attention should be given to the quality of citizens' "lives, employment, education, social protection, health care, to accessible culture, intergenerational solidarity and more harmony".

The bulk of responsibility for political stability, economic development, successful social dialogue and security remains with each ruling coalition as well as opposition, which should overcome the fighting for political prestige, the president of the upper chamber of parliament said.

"The key of our shared future is in the hands of our generation, which will prove its maturity and proactivity with a respectful approach to stories that have remained untold and by actively creating conditions in which future generations can thrive."

He pointed to the solidarity demonstrated on 23 December 1990, when Slovenians overwhelmingly voted in favour of independence - the results were declared on 26 December, celebrated as Independence and Unity Day.

With the ceremony also marking 25 years since the adoption of the Slovenian Constitution, Bervar said that the architects of the Constitution and the political players of that period needed to be "given credit for overcoming their differences in what was a historic moment".

He added that the results of the independence referendum, in which 95% or 88.5% of the entire electorate voted "yes", obliged Slovenians to try to rediscover the confidence demonstrated 26 years ago.

Bervar moreover stressed that the EU should also take a step forward. "It is time for it to strengthen its role of a global decision-maker and advocate of human rights, a promoter of social and economic development, a guardian of cultural diversity and the environment and a pillar of defence system and security."

The state ceremony, which featured a diverse cultural programme, was attended by all of the country's top officials, as well as some members of both chambers of parliament, representatives of the judiciary, religious communities and the diplomatic corps as well as some independence figures.

The anniversary was also marked by other events, including a reception earlier in the day by Prime Minister Miro Cerar of the families of the victims of the independence war.

While stressing that the victims of the ten-day war must never be forgotten, Cerar noted that independence had also made us face ourselves, "as we established that it is not easy to have one's own country, that this takes a lot of effort, responsibility and that it brings highs and lows".

The National Assembly also held its traditional ceremonial session, at which the keynote was delivered by Deputy Speaker Primo┼ż Hainz.

Hainz pointed to new challenges posed by globalisation, noting that if the sovereignty of individual countries was truly quietly "crumbling under the interests of corporations, it is urgent to think not about whether to pull the brake but about when to do it".

Looking towards the future, he said there was some optimism: "Let's join human integrity and true political unity and we can make miracles," he stressed.

The session in parliament was also addressed by Speaker Milan Brglez, who stressed that Independence and Unity Day was a holiday of citizens and all those who 26 years ago at polling stations decided for independent Slovenia in the spirit of exceptional unity.

"It is this very unity on the basis of which the Slovenian state has emerged that is the main message of this holiday," the parliamentary speaker stressed.

The independence anniversary was moreover reflected on by Archbishop of Ljubljana Stanislav Zore at the annual mass for the homeland, which he said was something that is hard to win but easy to lose.

Zore said that while many may not be entirely happy with what became of the independent state, "our memory unfortunately does not reach further back than the last pay check".

"If our memory was better, our disappointment would be smaller and we would above all not buy into the stories of all kinds of nostalgic individuals who have their own interests in mind when singing the praises of the past."

Zore however also spoke of the problem of brain drain and of a "dangerously low" birth rate, urging "support for the family at all levels, as the family is the only guarantee for the future of the nation and society".


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