Reception by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Slovenia and Ms Tanja Pečar for the Diplomatic Corps at the start of the New Year

Brdo pri Kranju, 30. 1. 2019 | press release, speech

Address by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Slovenia

Dear Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps,
Excellencies,

Allow me to first emphasise our sincere commitment to the comprehensive deepening of friendship and cooperation with the countries that you represent and with other countries.

We are all responsible for our common destiny and future, and, as part of this responsibility, the Republic of Slovenia wishes to actively pursue friendly cooperation with everyone.

Excellencies,

Let me briefly state my position on a few issues that are important for the present-day international community.

First.
A few words about the situation in Slovenia.
Considering everything that Slovenia and its people have been through during the financial and economic recession, we dare say that the current political, economic and social situation is good and favourable.

Slovenia's main task this year is to further strengthen its economic and social stability, democratic structure, and all the pillars of its national sovereignty.

I believe that this will be of decisive importance for the country's capacity to effectively respond to less predictable and less secure international circumstances.

Slovenia’s relatively high economic growth, surplus in the balance of payments, increase in the employment rate, growth in labour costs lagging behind the EU average, the halving of the debt owed by domestic companies to banks, increased investment in technology modernisation, and public borrowing that is among the lowest in the EU have all had a positive impact on public finances.

The country has begun to reduce its public debt in order to achieve the Maastricht limit of 60% of GDP.

There has been a growing sense of optimism among the people, although their distress and concerns, which have still not eased, should not be underestimated.

It is very important to stress that there has been a gradual increase in trust in the institutions of the rule of law and a political state, which is of paramount importance for the successful democratic development of Slovenia.

Second.
With regard to international peace and security,

I must assess that the trend as to the reduced predictability and general security in the international community will continue.

I believe that we have found ourselves in a situation where various problems are multiplying, raising the question of whether we will gradually address them and find peaceful solutions to them for the common good of humanity, or will lose control over them, bringing, against our will, the international community to the point where world peace will be seriously threatened.

In this regard, I should stress that Slovenia will do everything in its power to contribute to efforts to resolve all global issues amicably and strengthen world peace.

In this connection, Slovenia must again highlight the importance of multilateralism. We know that the international legal and political order needs change. However, such change should be achieved by mutual agreement and without any unilateral action. In any event, it is necessary to strengthen trust in international law.

World peace is more fragile than ever before; nevertheless, the national and global players that understand the importance of peace for resolving all other outstanding global issues still have enough power to join forces and achieve lasting peace. Slovenia will actively participate in such endeavours.

Third.
With regard to changes in the world,

I am more concerned about the situation in the world than that in Slovenia. It would seem that the ability of global politics to turn inevitable changes to the benefit of peace, security and human welfare is even weaker than the year before.

This increases the uneasy impression that national and global decision-makers have less influence on climate-related, political, security, technological and general social changes than the majority of humankind would wish.

It was ten years ago that the global financial crisis struck, to which the world responded with relative political unity. And yet today it seems that a lack of political unity, coupled with geopolitical tensions, threatens the stability of the global financial and economic order.

We are closely monitoring the escalating trade war between the two largest economies in the world. An increasing number of countries are resorting to protectionism. The world's economy is slowly cooling.

Although the financial system has been cleaned up to some degree since the recession, an increase in public debt has curtailed the ability of governments to take fiscal action and of central banks to take monetary action in the event of a new crisis or recession.

That is why Slovenia believes that, in world politics, it crucial to restore trust in the rule of law, diplomacy and the peaceful settlement of disputes, and to strengthen comprehensive political cooperation in order to resolve global issues.

Fourth.
With regard to Europe,

allow me to stress that, in the current less predictable global situation, which has also become more complex in terms of security, Slovenia wants a European Union that works more closely together and has more influence on the global stage.

Slovenia considers such a European Union to be of crucial importance. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to all ideas that would give fresh impetus to European integration.

This integration is now at a standstill, which is an issue of concern. However, we wish to remain active. We have been taking initiatives at the government and non-government levels to breathe new life into the European idea.

The recent signing of the Treaty of Aachen by Germany and France, which I understand as a follow-up to the famous Élysée Treaty, fills me with great hope and confidence. The signing of this treaty is one of the few bright signs of the revival of the European idea for future needs.
I am hopeful that, following the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the EU Member States will have more time and political will to focus on securing a more successful and efficient common future.

I personally believe that if European politicians listen to reason and summon the courage to commit themselves to new ideas regarding closer cooperation, most Europeans will embrace such with gratitude.

Fifth.
With regard to relations with the US, the Russian Federation and China,

I should stress that Slovenia's foreign and security policy orientation is governed by its membership of the European Union and NATO.
In this sense, the US is our ally and partner. It is our wish to further deepen our relations with this ally, regardless of certain differences of opinion regarding the importance of and respect for the Paris Agreement and the Iran nuclear deal.

Slovenia also wishes to have good and orderly relations with the Russian Federation and China, the two important superpowers that are not its direct political or military allies.

Slovenia will pursue a foreign policy aimed at making as many friends as possible and no enemies around the world.

Sixth.
With regard to the Western Balkans,
Slovenia will pursue an active policy of enhanced cooperation with the countries of South-Eastern Europe.

Slovenia has developed open and friendly relations with all countries in the region, which enables it to act as a link between them as it strives to strengthen reconciliation processes, resolve bilateral and multilateral issues amicably, and promote regional cooperation.

Together with Croatia, a co-leader of the Brdo-Brioni process, we are preparing a spring summit of leaders in Tirana.

This part of Europe is at the crossroads too.

Although I have noticed indications that the strengthening of mutual trust among the countries involved in the process has come to a standstill, in my assessment this part of Europe is still able to maintain stability and security despite the increased general uncertainty.

Slovenia strongly supports the conclusion of the Prespa Agreement between Macedonia and Greece and expresses hope that it will enter into force. The two countries deserve our praise for having the political courage to seek a compromise solution. However, now it is very important that we do not leave Macedonia in the lurch regarding its expectations of a Euro-Atlantic future.

Seventh.
With regard to neighbouring countries,

Slovenia will continue to strive for friendly, allied, partner and good neighbourly relations with all four neighbouring countries.

In these turbulent times, it is all the more important that we foster mutual respect and trust.

This is also applies to relations with neighbouring Croatia, which has failed to comply with its international legal obligation regarding the border determined between our two countries.
Reception by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Slovenia and Ms Tanja Pečar for the Diplomatic Corps at the start of the New Year

Address by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Slovenia

Slovenia wishes to ensure, with patience and by legal means, that this obligation is respected and endeavours to maintain and strengthen its comprehensive cooperation with its southern neighbour.

Eighth.
With regard to this year's Three Seas Initiative summit,

I would like to announce that in June 2019 Slovenia will host the 4th summit of the Three Seas Initiative. The previous hosts requested that we take on this important role because they, along with other Member States and guests, are confident that we will be an excellent host.

In any event, I will strive to ensure that the organisation of the conference is nothing short of that. We are hopeful that senior representatives from the European Union and the United States will be in attendance.

A business conference will be held on the margins of the leaders' summit. The two events are expected to importantly strengthen regional cooperation in the areas of energy, infrastructure and economic cooperation in this part of Europe.

And finally, by way of conclusion,
I would like to reiterate that the Republic of Slovenia has, and hopes to continue to have, good relations with all of the countries in our part of the world and elsewhere. Slovenia will continue to be an active partner in efforts for peace and cooperation to ensure a better and safer future for all.

Our possibilities may be limited, but it is our wish and ambition to contribute to the international community's efforts to address the current issues facing humanity.

Excellencies,

I would respectfully ask you, at the beginning of this new year, to extend my best wishes to the leaders of your countries, in the sincere hope that our mutual trust, friendship and cooperation to the benefit of the people we represent will continue to strengthen.

Sprejem za diplomatski zbor ob pričetku novega leta
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

Sprejem za diplomatski zbor ob pričetku novega leta
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA