Slovenia marking Sovereignty Day

Ljubljana – Marking Sovereignty Day, Prime Minister Janez Janša called for efforts to boost Slovenia’s security resilience. Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič highlighted the importance of responsible and efficient policies to maintain the country’s sovereignty and President Borut Pahor emphasized dialogue and cooperation.

Sovereignty Day marks the day in 1991 when the last Yugoslav People’s Army soldiers left Slovenian soil. On its 30th anniversary, Janša said that on that day, Slovenia had truly become a free, independent and sovereign country, a privilege that was not enjoyed by all countries in Europe at the time.

Slovenia became a strong country in a military sense and hence a safe one as well, but when it comes to security and defence nowadays, it will have to step up its resilience “to be able to defend itself as we were three decades ago”, and contribute more to “the common security umbrella”.

Values and skills that had led to that day 30 years ago should be something to aspire to in the future as well, the prime minister added.

President Pahor hosted open day at the Presidential Palace on the occasion. Addressing the visitors, Pahor emphasized that it was through unity that Slovenia attained independence, defended it and won international recognition.

He particularly emphasized dialogue and cooperation as the pillars of Slovenia’s independence, but added that these pillars were not as solid today as he would want them to be.

Underlining national holidays as a point of unity regardless of the political, religious, ideological and value differences between people, Pahor said “everyone can have different views of the past 30 years of development, and critical ones are legitimate as well”.

He also said that the past 30 years should be viewed as a fine and good period when Slovenia transformed from a country without past democratic traditions into a country that succesfully entered all the key major international institutions. But he added that some issues still remain to be solved.

“We had a clear goal, leaders who believed in that goal, people who were unsure about the goal but listened to each other and heard each other. And they understood the danger threatening our homeland if we talked past each other or even against each other,” Pahor said about what made it possible for Slovenians to realise their long-standing dream and goal.

Zorčič highlighted the importance of Slovenia’s common values, noting that responsible and efficient policies should be the answer to today’s challenges, including the health crisis and economic, social, environmental and demographic issues, as this was the only way for Slovenia to remain a sovereign, strong and safe country.

He described Sovereignty Day as one of the key milestones in the country’s independence efforts, saying that this year was particularly special due to the 30th anniversary and an opportunity to show again that Slovenia, an EU presiding country, is preserving European values, including the rule of law, and is ready to co-create a joint green and digital future along with other countries.

Zorčič also said that after 30 years of independence and sovereignty, it seemed that Slovenia “must once again resolutely resist a climate that is increasingly reminiscent of a different time and a situation that we were convinced we had finally left behind us”, adding that efforts should be made to de-escalate the political situation and strive for dialogue.

Defence Minister Matej Tonin is expected to address the state Sovereignty Day ceremony in Koper in the evening.