Pahor calls on Slovenians to treasure their language
Trieste, 3 December - During his visit to the Slovenian minority in Trieste on Saturday, President Borut Pahor urged the Slovenian nation to preserve differences, nurture the common European identity and look after the Slovenian language. The minority's umbrella organisations thanked Pahor for his cooperation and efforts promoting dialogue.
At a ceremony held in the National Hall, Pahor thanked all his compatriots for their cooperation and noted that much had been done already, but much also remained to be done. He pointed to the National Hall, which Italian authorities returned to the Slovenian community during his current term, as an example of what Slovenians can do when they work together.
The president also urged Slovenians to carry on with courage, protect their democracy and everything else that defines them, including culture and national identity. They should also "give wings to our common European identity", he added.
"During your term we have felt that you are also our president," said Ksenija Dobrila, president of the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union. She believes Pahor has shown that it is worthwhile to invest in harmonious co-existence, dialogue and reconciliation.
She also noted his contribution to the return of the National Hall to the minority 100 years after the Fascists burned this centre of the community's social, cultural and economic life to the ground.
Walter Bandelj, president of the Council of Slovenian Organisations, also lauded Pahor's efforts promoting dialogue and reconciliation, noting that under his two consecutive terms milestone events for the Slovenian minorities in Italy and Austria had taken place.
During his visit to Trieste, Pahor will tour the headquarters of Trieste-based Slovenian newspaper Primorski Dnevnik. In 2015, when the minority paper celebrated its 70th anniversary, Pahor honoured it with the Silver Order of Merit, including for its contribution to the preservation of the national identity of Slovenians in Italy.
Pahor, who will be succeeded by Nataša Pirc Musar just before Christmas, is visiting the minority ahead of Monday's farewell meeting with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella in Rome.