The Slovenia Times

President says fundamental EU values should be understood the same way

Politics

Prague - President Borut Pahor called for a strong and effective Europe as he appeared on Tuesday as a speaker at the Prague European Summit, recalling the bloc's fundamental values such as rule of law that he said should be understood the same way. He also received the Visions for Europe Award.

Pahor recalled why countries such as Slovenia and Czechia believed in the European family when they joined the bloc.

"We wanted to understand and accept fundamental values, from media freedom and the rule of law to democracy and human rights, in the same way as Western European Member States did," he said according to a speech circulated by his office.

"This understanding must also remain the same today - namely that the entire European Union understands the fundamental values in the same way," he said.

Pahor urged all EU citizens to participate in the debates in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe, describing this as a unique opportunity for them to shape the future.

While the in-depth debate will be short, the conference will nevertheless be an opportunity "to remind ourselves about the uniqueness of the European project."

Pahor also reiterated his view that the EU should enlarge to the Western Balkans, without which the EU will be an "unfinished project".

"My strategic vision for Europe is Europe whole, free, united and at peace. That naturally means the European Union enlarged by the countries of the Western Balkans."

The president acknowledged that sometimes, the EU seemed ill-equipped to face challenges, "but we are aware that it would be much harder for each of us if we were alone."

"We are much better together. We should work toward a strong and effective European Union, a European Union that will be a global leader in the transition to sustainable, climate neutral, and digitally supported development."

At the forum, which is organised by the Czech Foreign Ministry and the think-tank Europeum, Pahor also received the Visions for Europe Award, conferred by Europeum since 1995 in recognition of outstanding achievements in taking Europe into the future.

Previous laureates include German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker and the first president of the European Central Bank Wim Duisenberg.

The award was conferred by Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhanek.

In the run-up to the event on Monday, Pahor met with Czech President MiloŇ° Zeman for talks on the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on economy, politics and society, his office said.

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