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Pahor makes appeal for new consensus, respect of diversity

Ljubljana, 25 June - President Borut Pahor made an appeal for a new national consensus in his address to the national Statehood Day ceremony on Friday, highlighting the importance of shared goals and cooperation. He also called for a respect of differences and diversity.

Ljubljana
Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
Prime Minister Janez Janša and his wife, Urška Bačovnik Janša, arrive at the Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
European Council President Charles Michel attends the Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (left), Croatian Prime Ministr Andrej Plenković (centre) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (right) attend the Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ljubljana
President Borut Pahor inspects the troops as he arrives for the Statehood Day ceremony.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

"Differences have always existed and they always will. They existed during the time of independence efforts. Unity about independence did not fall from the sky. It was the result of cooperation. It was the result of the awareness that united we stand, divided we fall."

He said it was essential that the differences be bridged with cooperation. "It is clear that our differences are wider and more pronounced than they usually are. But in my view they do not reach very deep among the people. Whoever sincerely tries to form a new consensus will quickly find broad popular support."

Pahor argued it was time for a third national consensus, the first two respectively being the decision to seek independence and to join Euro-Atlantic organisations.

He said Slovenia needed a "guiding idea" about the future around which consensus and unity can be built, adding that three decades after independence, it was now time for such a consensus about a green, digital and economically sustainable development for the next thirty years.

Whoever manages to offer the most convincing vision and focuses on that vision without particular partisan or ideological aims should not worry about broad popular support.

He said 30 years of statehood had brought the lesson that Slovenia can only be moved forward by a coalition that is in favour of something, not against something.

"A coalition for large-scale goals always builds on what we share, not what divides us. Otherwise, it cannot be successful."

At the same time, he said nobody should be left behind. "We are all different, in a way each their own colour. Which colour can we exclude from the rainbow and still call it a rainbow? None."

Turning to the upcoming EU presidency, Pahor said this was a great opportunity to remember why Slovenia had joined the European family.

"We wanted to understand its fundamental values, from freedom of media to rule of law, from democracy to human rights, the same way that western European member states did."

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© STA, 2021