Ljubljana – An association bringing together current and former MPs marked the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence on Tuesday. Speakers highlighted national unity at the time, and the lessons that holds for the future.
President Borut Pahor said the political leaders at the time opted for respect despite significant differences, the realisation that they needed each other being the “secret that made it possible to become independent”.
He said this was what set the present apart from the time thirty years ago, as too many people now think they are a threat to each other and do not need one another.
A national community however needs dialogue. “Because it was dialogue that brought us to cooperation, and cooperation brought us to unity, despite the differences.”
Prime Minister Janez Janša said people often idealised the past, which sometimes leads to a departure from reality. But idealisation is appropriate when it comes to independence era.
“We are masters on our land, and the biggest problems we have are self-made. Nobody wants to do anything to us, we are integrated into all sorts of international associations,” he said.
He said it was instrumental at the time that the country was capable of implementing the decision to become independent. “This still holds true. It’s not so important what others think, what’s important is how a nation, a community, a country is capable of implementing decisions that it has arrived at in a democratic way.”
Speaker Igor Zorčič highlighted “exceptional unity”, even as he noted that life and social development were moving forward inexorably, which is why retrospection may not obscure the view towards the future.
He spoke of “exceptional political polarisation” and lack of consensus in politics, even when it came to managing circumstances as fateful as the Covid pandemic.
And while he acknowledge all political players were responsible for the situation, he said the greatest responsibility lay on those “who hold the keys in their hands, be it at the National Assembly or the government.”
Lojze Peterle, Slovenia’s first prime minister, meanwhile noted that during independence all politicians worked towards a common goal, and the government had ministers that were from opposition parties. “We had a national unity government,” he said.