dr. Danilo Türk predsednik republike

Address of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Republic of Slovenia

The Slovenians are a people who are used to hard work and persistent struggle. History did not offer many gifts to Slovenia. We achieved independence through our own efforts, risks and sacrifices. The background for independence was the turmoil in civil society, imbued with the powerful idea of human rights. Independence was imperative, and became a reality to safeguard the human rights of everyone living on our territory, to protect people from aggression, and as a path to a new development perspective. All this proved essential and within reach.

Twenty years ago, we committed ourselves to democracy, freedom, respect for human dignity and rights, respect for minorities and immigrants, openness, and cooperation with others. We often cite unity as a key element in independence. It is true that political unity was of the utmost significance, but I would like to remind you that it was reached democratically, and entailed pluralism and the coming together of widely disparate political elements.

Contemporary political will respected civil society and its initiatives, which opened up a space for dialogue and new ideas. Why should we not use this recipe today, when we observe with resignation  our lack of unity? We evidently need some critical self-reflection, but not resignation. Let us be realistic: our achievements are not negligible. Today, we live better than we did two decades ago, and new perspectives have opened up, although they may be more difficult to discern due to the economic situation. This crisis has revealed numerous weaknesses and errors which have been with us for a long time. Today, we have an opportunity and a duty to eliminate these weaknesses, to set up efficient legal mechanisms, to ensure solidarity, and to encourage creativity, entrepreneurship and civic courage.
Twenty dreams ago, dreams were permitted; but today, our greatest need is for a credible analysis of the situation and innovative reconsiderations on how to proceed.
The world and Slovenia within it are in the process of changing. We must find and determine our place in these changes, and improve the quality of what we create, both material and spiritual.

Therefore, we should set priority goals carefully, and find what is best within us, so that these goals can be attained. Let us be self-confident. The trials of today are not the hardest we have experienced; however, they do demand serious consideration and greater determination. Let us use the time and minds which are available. Let us take bold steps forward.