Those in attendance were addressed by the President Borut Pahor and Supreme Court President Branko Masleša. Pahor shared that all institutions have the task of carrying out their work as effectively and as successfully as possible. Masleša warned that guaranteeing a state governed by the rule of law is the task of all branches of government.
President Pahor estimates that great strides forward were made in the field of the judiciary in recent years, but that there is still some work to be done. According to the President, judges themselves must do this work and “no one else can or is allowed to” do so on their behalf. Furthermore, politics also plays its part by formulating effective laws.
In his speech at the commemorative plenary session of the Supreme Court, President Pahor warned of the dangers that await the EU as our “broader homeland.” He warned that the EU is currently in a situation in which it faces a crisis, which could, in the years to come, cause conditions under which “we will be forced to once again make decisions against our will concerning some vital issues regarding our development.”
In his speech, Masleša stressed that the celebration of the 25th anniversary of independence is an opportunity to consider the role that the judiciary has played since independence “which has been a consistent and logical answer to the violation of law in our former state.” He estimated that the assumption “that once democracy and the operation of a free market are established, the state will be automatically governed by the rule of law, has not been realised.”
At today’s national celebration in Koper commemorating Sovereignty Day and the 25th anniversary of the departure of the last Yugoslav People’s Army soldier from Slovenia, Prime Minister Miro Cerar emphasised in his keynote speech that the events of 25 years ago form the foundation of our statehood and, as a result, also the foundations of our new confidence and responsibility. Among other things, he thanked “the brave women and men of the time, Slovenian police officers, members of Territorial Defence, and all those who took risks and actions to guarantee that Slovenia would successfully gain its independence.”
The celebration was also attended by President Borut Pahor, President of the National Assembly Milan Brglez, President of the National Council Mitja Bervar, and Minister of Defence Andreja Katič.
The purpose of today’s celebration is to remember the events that happened 25 years ago when, during the night of 25 and 26 October, the last Yugoslav People’s Army soldier left the territory of our country, thus concluding the process in which Slovenia gained its independence. The Yugoslav Army began to retreat from the Port of Koper on 20 October, but 25 October was determined as the final day of retreat. The last Yugoslav People’s Army soldiers boarded two ships that sailed with their flags, thus making those ships foreign territory according to international law. Since last year, 25 October has been celebrated as Sovereignty Day, a national public holiday that is not a non-working day.
The last YPA soldier left Slovenia 25 years ago
During the night of 25 and 26 October 1991, the last Yugoslav People’s Army soldier left the territory of our country, thus concluding the process in which Slovenia gained its independence. Tonight, the 25th anniversary of this event will be commemorated at a national celebration at Arena Bonifika in Koper, where the keynote speaker will be Prime Minister Miro Cerar, and the event will also be attended by President Borut Pahor.
The Office of the Republic of Slovenia will also have an Open Doors Day today, and President Pahor will hold a special celebration at the Presidential Palace, where he will confer the Silver Order for Services state decoration upon the Military Officers Association of Slovenia.
The last soldier of the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA), against which members of the Slovenian Territorial Defence and the police fought in a ten-day war, left Slovenia 25 years ago, when the last ships carrying YPA soldiers left the Port of Koper during the night of 25 to 26 October.
The Yugoslav Army began to retreat from the Port of Koper on 20 October, but 25 October was determined as the final day of retreat. The last Yugoslav People’s Army soldiers boarded two ships that sailed with their flags, thus making those ships foreign territory according to international law.
After the Slovenian War of Independence finished in 1991, negotiations between Yugoslavia, Slovenia, and Croatia took place on the Brioni Islands. These ended when the so-called Brioni Declaration was signed on 7 July 1991, by means of which independence-related activities in Slovenia were suspended for three months. By the time this moratorium ended, Yugoslav authorities realised that they would be unable to keep Slovenia in Yugoslavia, so talks on the departure of the YPA from Slovenian territory followed.
Since last year, 25 October has been celebrated as Sovereignty Day, a national public holiday that is not a non-working day.
The three-month moratorium on Slovenian independence-related decisions, arising from the Brioni Declaration signed on 7 July 1991, expired on this day 25 years ago. With the expiry of the moratorium, Slovenia started implementing independence legislation. It took control of its borders, while the National Assembly decided that the tolar would be the new Slovenian currency.
After the ceremonial declaration of independence of Slovenia on 26 June 1991, the Ten-Day war started, which resulted in casualties. Already on the following morning, tanks were sent from the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) barracks in Zagreb with the objective of securing the external borders of Slovenia and protecting the territorial integrity of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
The authorities in Belgrade intended to keep Slovenia within Yugoslavia by force. The clashes between the JNA and the Slovenian Territorial Defence and the Slovenian Police started on 27 June near Metlika, and ended on 3 July 1991, when the defeated Yugoslav Army started withdrawing to barracks.
In order to reach a final cease-fire, delegations of the European Union, Slovenia, Croatia and the SFRY met on 7 July on the Brijuni Islands. After the 15-hour negotiations, the sides involved in the Yugoslav crisis signed the Brioni Declaration, which ended hostilities on Slovenian territory.
By signing the declaration, the Slovenian side committed to freezing independence processes, but it actually sped them up. The Yugoslav authorities thus gradually realised that it would not be able to prevent Slovenia's independence, which is why it decided on 18 July to withdraw the JNA from Slovenia in three months.
The last JNA soldier left Slovenia in the night between 25 and 26 October 1991. This event is considered by many as perhaps the peak event in the process of Slovenia's independence.
On 8 October 1991, Slovenia paved the way for monetary independence by introducing its own currency. The tolar, which had played a very important stabilisation role and enjoyed a high level of trust, was replaced by the euro in 2007.
Monetary independence started when the three-month moratorium on the implementation of the independence decisions expired, in accordance with the Brioni Declaration, and when the then National Assembly adopted the relevant legislation.
The tolar was born a few minutes after midnight on 8 October 1991. It was divided into one hundred stotins (cents).
Before the issue of tolar banknotes and coins, vouchers were used as legal tender in Slovenia. The exchange of Yugoslav dinars for vouchers in all financial institutions in the country started on 9 October 1991 and lasted three days, with the exchange rate between the dinars and vouchers in this period being 1:1. According to the assessments of the Finance Ministry, the exchange was "one of the fastest and most successful".
The exchange rate of the tolar was initially set at 32 tolars to the Deutsche Mark.
The Bank of Slovenia put into circulation the first tolar banknotes – 100-tolar, 500-tolar and 1,000-tolar banknotes – on 30 September 1992. The Slovenian currency was designed by Miljenko Licul and his team, and was printed by the British company Thomas de la Rue. The central bank then gradually withdrew the vouchers from circulation.
The first banknotes were followed by the 10-tolar (November 1992), 20-tolar (December 1992), 200-tolar (February 1993), 50-tolar (March 1993), 5,000-tolar (December 1993) and 10,000-tolar banknotes (March 1995); in January 1993, the banknotes were joined by 1-, 2-, 5- and 50-cent coins, while 10- and 20-cent coins were put into circulation in April 1993, followed by the 10-tolar coin in April 2000. The banknotes featured acclaimed Slovenians, while iconic Slovenian animals were featured on the coins.
The story of the tolar ended in 2007, when the euro became the Slovenian national currency.
Vouchers and tolar banknotes can be exchanged in Banka Slovenije indefinitely. Coins can be exchanged only until the end of the year.
To celebrate 25 years of Slovenian statehood, the Permanent Mission of Slovenia in Geneva, in cooperation with the United Nations Office in Geneva, opened an exhibition portraying the country's natural and cultural heritage. The photographic exhibit entitled "I Feel Slovenia: 25 years of independence" can be viewed at Palais des Nations until 15 July.
"25 years ago, the calls of Slovenian civil society for democracy and human rights brought about fundamental change in the country's course – a proclamation of independence," recalled Ambassador Šuc in his remarks.
Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Michael Møller meanwhile brought to mind, in his message at the opening of the exhibition, that Slovenia - for which caring for the planet and its resources was a priority - was one of the most water-rich and forested countries in Europe, and had this year an opportunity to make its mark on the global sustainability movement, in particular in Geneva as the operational hub for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The exhibition has been prepared by the Government Communication Office of the Republic of Slovenia in cooperation with Slovenia Press Photo.
On the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, we collected some stories of Slovenians who, back then, demonstrated, prepared exhibitions, organised humanitarian convoys, opened doors and persuaded their French friends that the young country deserves attention and recognition. The stories depicting the events in Paris, Saint-Étienne and other French cities were shared by Evgen Bavčar, Brina Svit, Tatiana Rodica Dumas, Maša Arko, Jože Šimc, Aleš Biber, Martin Golobič, Marjana Gult, Franc Hribar, Janez Ložar, Pascal Mérat, Bernard Ivan Rehar, Ciril Valant, Ana and Karel Vičič, Janez Zorec and Alenka Zver.
On Statehood Day, thousands of people gathered at the traditional Buenos Aires Celebrates Slovenia event on May Avenue in Buenos Aires that connects the presidential palace and the parliament. The celebration began in the morning with a mass in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, and continued on May Avenue where all the leading music and dance groups of the Slovenian community presented themselves, while guests and passers-by tasted typical Slovenian dishes, acquainted themselves with the Slovenian tourism offer and Slovenian associations operating in Argentina, and purchased Slovenian books.
During the main part of the event, Janez Dovč and Boštjan Gombač played the Slovenian national anthem. The audience was welcomed by the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Buenos Aires, Jadranka Šturm Kocjan, representative of the Buenos Aires City Government for human rights and cultural diversity, Mercedes Barbara, and President of the United Slovenia (Zedinjena Slovenija) association, Jure Komar.
In honour of the 200th anniversary of Argentina, the Maribor and Mladika dance groups performed typical Argentinian dances, and guests from Slovenia, Andreja Podlogar and Blaz Bertoncelj, danced the Argentine tango. In the second part dedicated to the 25th anniversary of independent Slovenia, the Sounds of Slovenia duo, Janez Dovč and Boštjan Gombač, presented Slovenian folk music, and the Slovenian choirs of Buenos Aires jointly sang a medley of Slovenian songs, which they crowned with Slovenija, od kod lepote tvoje (English: Slovenia, whence thy beauty?).
The Statehood Day celebration ended around midnight with the Slovenian milonga in La Viruta de Solanas, one of the most popular tango halls, with Andreja Podlogar and Blaž Bertoncelj as the main guests.
This year's Police Day, which took place on 27 June, was especially festive, since it marked the 25th anniversary of the Police in independent Slovenia. The main ceremony was entitled Slovenian Police in Service of People (Slovenska policija, vedno za ljudi) and took place at the Brdo Congress Centre.
In addition to Slovenia's Minister of the Interior Vesna Györkös Žnidar and Director General of the Police Marjan Fank, the guests were also addressed by the Europol Director Rob Wainwright who highlighted the excellent cooperation between Europol and Slovenian Police: “States cannot cope with the complex criminal and terrorist threats alone. Slovenia is aware of this fact and turns to us for help more and more frequently. It is very active in this regard, which makes it a very valued partner.”
The Minister of the Interior and Director General of the Police also awarded the highest decorations. Each attendee of the event also received a special booklet entitled In 25 years to a modern police organisation based on European standards (V 25 letih do sodobne in po evropskih merilih oblikovane policijske organizacije) and a commemorative badge issued by the Slovenian Police in honour of its 25th anniversary.
In his message to the citizens on the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, Prime Minister Miro Cerar wrote that the memories of the declaration of Slovenia’s independence fill him with great pride. He added that we are still successfully coping with challenges, which is creating new optimism. “Let us be bold in new changes,” the Prime Minister called upon the people.
Cerar wrote that he remembers the courage, the unity, the life energy and the vision all of us shared 25 years ago after the declaration of independence.
“We knew that we are stronger together. That no obstacle is too high. That each individual is a piece in the mosaic of a new democratic state. Therefore, I am convinced that everyone can identify with the fact that we managed to achieve something almost impossible. We acted in unison and strived towards a common goal – a better life in our own state,” recalled the Prime Minister.
At the same time, he acknowledged that some mistakes were also made in the twenty-five years of our independent state. He believes, however, that Slovenians are yet again successfully facing all the challenges. “Because we are again looking towards the future. Optimism is reawakening. Let us acknowledge our considerable achievements. Let us be bold in new changes. I am convinced that, together, we will succeed,” he emphasised in the message.
“Therefore, my most important guidance remains the concern for a better and fairer life in our beautiful homeland. We need each and every one of you, your knowledge, your energy, your optimism and your willingness to jointly lead Slovenia into the future,” he wrote, and among the objectives listed that we will be a successful state where young people continue to have all the opportunities of quality education and work, where everyone can provide a decent life for themselves and their families by working and where people will continue to have and adequate health care and a secure old age.
President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor received numerous congratulations on Slovenia's national holiday, the Statehood Day. Among others, congratulations were expressed by King Philippe of Belguim, King Carl Gustav of Sweden, Irish President Michael Higgins, President of the United Mexican States Enrique Peña Nieto, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, and Governor-General of Australia Peter John Cosgrove.
Congratulations were also sent by the French President François Hollande who reiterated the strategic partnership between the two states, which is based on excellent relations between Slovenia and France, as well as of the cooperation within the Brdo-Brijuni Process. In his letter, the French President announced that the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, Élisabeth Guigou, will represent France at the main celebration of the Statehood Day and the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence.
With the main state ceremony, which took place in Slovenia’s capital on the eve of the Statehood Day, the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s emancipation reached its peak. In his speech, President Borut Pahor emphasized that the beauty of attaining independence was in the inclusion, not the exclusion. Before the ceremony, the National Assembly held a formal session.
The state ceremony took place on several venues; the Trg Republike Square hosted the ceremonial part; from there, the event moved to the Kongresni trg Square, and the closing event featured fireworks at the Ljubljana Castle. The celebration of Slovenia’s independence anniversary was also attended by the German President Joachim Gauck, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Italian president Sergio Mattarella and Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
In his speech at the ceremony, President Pahor emphasised that the beauty of attaining independence was that the people were involved and not excluded, which was essential and also applies to our future challenges. He added that unity was not created overnight, but was a wonderful result of dialogue, cooperation and trust.
As Pahor said, Slovenians finally made decisions together: “We made a decision together at the referendum; we made a decision together on an evening just like this one 25 years ago, when we declared our country’s independence; we fought together to defend our country from aggression, and we made efforts together to achieve international recognition.”
In June, the Consulate-General of the Republic of Slovenia in Trieste marked the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence with several events. On Thursday, 23 June 2016, a presentation of the exhibition entitled Les25/Selection of Contemporary Slovenian Wood Design took place at the Trieste Book Centre, offering excellent information on selected, superbly designed products of modern wood design in Slovenia. In her opening statement, the Consul-General Ingrid Sergaš said how pleased she was that, upon its 25th anniversary of independence, the state is representing itself in a modern way, by displaying its creative excellence. At the same time, she stressed the importance of the exhibition space, the Trieste Book Centre, which is celebrating its first year of operation and is fulfilling its purpose of forging connections and promotion also through events such as this. The exhibition was presented by its author Barbara Predan who emphasised that wood is a great natural resource of Slovenia, since 60 % of its territory is covered with forests. Slovenian designers and architects have been using this natural material for decades, which is also presented in the exhibition’s introductory part. The basic criteria in choosing products for the exhibition were superior design, the logic of the choice, and function, which is expressed through the form. The presentation was further enriched by some authors of the pieces included in the exhibition: Design Studio Mashoni, Oloop, SoNo Arhitekti, Studio Miklavc and Wisonic Design, who represented their design projects. The exhibition will remain open until 29 June 2016.
On the 25th anniversary of independent Slovenia, the Slovenian Alpine Museum remembered the raising of the Slovenian flag at the top of Mount Triglav twenty-five years ago. On 12 June 1991, a group of 21 mountain rescuers hung the Slovenian flag on top of Slovenia's highest mountain – at that time, the design of the flag was not official, since the Assembly had yet to confirm the new coat-of-arms.
On the 25th anniversary of this event, the Slovenian Alpine Museum in Mojstrana organised a special event which was attended by most of the then participating mountain rescuers and a room full of visitors. They revived the memories of the event with a short film which was shot from a helicopter by the Radio Television Slovenia cameraman Janez Kališnik. The footage of the fluttering flag was shown on 26 June 1991, at a ceremony on the Trg Republike Square in Ljubljana, where the new Slovenian flag was raised for the first time.
On 18 June, the main Zasavje region ceremony was held at the top of the Kum hill in honour of the Statehood Day and the 25th anniversary of the air attack on the local transmitter. The keynote speaker Prime Minister Miro Cerar recalled the courage our veterans demonstrated during the process of attaining independence. He said that the people of Slovenia should not be ashamed of expressions of patriotism.
“Let us be proud, but not repeat our mistakes; we should look towards the future,” Cerar pointed out before numerous guests, including MPs, mayors of the Zasavje region, representatives of veterans organizations, and culture professionals. He called for cooperation for the benefit of every citizen in Slovenia.
He mentioned that Slovenia has made quite a few important steps forward over the past two years. “It is particularly important that we managed to yet again become an economically solid country witnessing economic growth and increase in employment,” he estimated. He added that the Government is committed to a future where there will be enough work to ensure a decent life, and will take the first decisive reform steps in this direction already this year.
Upon the anniversary of its 25 years of existence, the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth organised a meeting of the key players who significantly marked the development of the Slovenian youth sector in the past 25 years, including the Office’s former directors. They all agreed that the Office has managed to establish a unified youth policy with a clear vision of what needs to be done to help young people integrate into society.
The event, which was also attended by the first Director of the Office Stanko Šalamon and his successors Zorko Škvor, Dominik S. Černjak, Boris Tomašič and the current Director Peter Debeljak, was held at the Kult 316 Biotechnical Educational Centre where young students are trained for work in tourism and the hospitality industry. Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Slovenia, who was also active in the youth sector 25 years ago, acted as the honorary patron of the event.
On 15 and 16 June, a conference entitled 25 years of the Republic of Slovenia – challenges, dilemmas, expectations took place at the Institute of Contemporary History.
Despite the fact that, historically speaking, these 25 years are quite a short period, they represent a particular challenge for the researchers of recent history. A lot happened to this small country between 1991 and 2016, and these events call for a systematic analysis. There certainly are numerous dilemmas associated with the challenges of researching and presenting the history of the Republic of Slovenia.
Twenty-five years after the attainment of independence, well-established researchers identified and defined the problems of researching autonomous and independent Slovenia. The objective of the conference was to establish a methodological, scientific, problem-appropriate and coherent foundation for further research.
On Tuesday, 14 June 2016, the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Zagreb, in cooperation with the Slovenski dom cultural society in Zagreb and the Council of Slovenian National Minority of Zagreb hosted a gala concert and reception at the Croatian Music Institute on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s statehood.
In her speech, Ambassador Knez emphasised that Slovenia can be proud of what it has achieved in its quarter-century long journey; it established itself as a respected member of the international community, with good neighbourly relations, including Croatia; despite some open issues, the countries share an extensive positive agenda.
The President of the Association of Slovenian Societies in Croatia, Darko Šonc, stressed the importance of minorities for the integration of nations. The guest of honour, Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Željko Reiner, called everyone's attention to the similarities of both states’ path to democracy and expressed his belief that they can resolve the few open questions they have in the spirit of good neighbourly relations.
President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor attended and addressed the audience at a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of oath taking of the first generation of Slovenian recruits of the 510th Territorial Defence training centre at Ig.
In his speech, the President repeatedly emphasised the importance of unity in the emancipation process: “The beauty of the independence process was that it included people, not excluded them.” In light of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, the President gave Janez Cimperman, mayor of the Ig Municipality a Slovenian flag, a protocol gift of the President of the Republic: “The Slovenian flag is a symbol of unity that connects us, regardless of the differences between us. We must encourage what is common among us and be proud of what we create together.”
Before the ceremony, the President attended the unveiling of a memorial in memory and as a reminder of 27 June 1991, when, during the Independence War, a helicopter of the Yugoslav People’s Army was shot down at the Ljubljana Marshes.
At the Plaza Vaticano Square in front of the famous Teatro Colón theatre, the Buenos Aires Minister of Culture, Darío Lopérfido, and the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Argentina, Jadranka Šturm Kocjan, formally opened the Slovenian Month in Buenos Aires, the celebration of the 25th anniversary of independent Slovenia and the 200th anniversary of Argentina. In the presence of the Argentine authorities, representatives of the Slovenian community, the diplomatic corps and cultural institutions, they opened the exhibition entitled I Feel Slovenia. I Feel 25.
Ambassador Šturm Kocjan emphasized the importance of cultural ties between Slovenia and Argentina, and added that the Slovenian Month in Buenos Aires is the largest cultural project between the two states since Slovenia’s attainment of independence. She presented the exhibition as a reflection of Slovenia: a boutique state that is active, green, and committed to sustainable development. That is why our capital Ljubljana was awarded this year’s honorary title of the European Green Capital.
The Buenos Aires Minister of Culture Darío Lopérfido praised in his opening speech the creative power of Slovenian artists and the importance of culture for the recognition of countries around the world. He stressed that Slovenia and Argentina are cultural nations and that culture represents the future cooperation between the states.
The exhibition I Feel Slovenia. I Feel 25. will remain open until 26 June 2016.
On 7 June 2016, a temporary exhibition called Les25/Selection of Contemporary Slovenian Wood Design by Barbara Predan and designer Ranko Novak was opened in the lobby of the Ministry of Culture building to mark the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Slovenia’s independence.
The exhibition marking the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Slovenia’s independence offers transparent and important information on selected products featuring top contemporary Slovenian wood design.
The exhibition presents the following exhibitors and selected works:
SoNo Arhitekti architectural bureau: the Slovenian Pavilion represented at the EXPO Milano 2015, OFIS Architects: Alpine shelter below the Skuta Mountain, Studio Miklavc: the Triglav National Park mobile info point, Toni Kancilja: the Istra Cabinet, Luka Bassanese: Nika Collection, TOK TOK: Martin’s desk and Trobla (wooden amplifier), Gigodesign: Froc high chair, Tak kolektiv: cupboard, Tilen Sepič: Eclipse lamp, Blaž Habjanič: Toplr – wooden coat hanger, Wilsonic Design: Mister crocodile on a stick, Re-generacija: a friendly enemy – the Japanese knotweed and its use in paper-making, Oloop design: community of making, Design Studio Mashoni: Ribrand, Rinz ROS: UNI bird house, ONDU: ONDU pinhole camera.
The exhibition's opening was accompanied by a short speech by the Minister of Culture Anton Peršak and the author of the exhibition Barbara Predan.
The exhibition will remain open until 17 June 2016, every working day from 8 am to 5 pm.
These thoughts were written by a pupil from the Brežice primary school Hana Škrinjar who participated in the competition marking the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Slovenia’s independence. The Innovation and Creativity of Young People for the Future of the Homeland (Inovativnost in ustvarjalnost mladih za prihodnost domovine) competition was organized by the Ministry of Education, National Education Institute of Slovenia and the Government Communication Office. It was announced in March and all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools were invited to express their creativity.
The competition offered students the opportunity to express, on the occasion of 25th anniversary of independence, their patriotic sentiments as well as innovation, creativity, knowledge and potentials in various areas (art, music, dance, literary). As many as 76 educational institutions entered the competition and sent their multimedia presentations by 9 May 2016. All the submitted multimedia presentations were worth watching and a good indicator of high-quality teaching within educational institutions.
The closing event of the competition was held on 3 June 2016 at the Bolero dance school. The programme for the event was prepared in cooperation with kindergartens, primary and secondary schools participating at the competition. Through their stories and creations, Slovenia was presented in all its beauty, captured with the optimism of creative and smiling young, future-oriented people. Minister Maja Makovec Brenčič highlighted the latter in her speech, saying that young people are the future of our country.
At the event, the best contributions about Slovenia were also awarded. The awards were bestowed by the Minister and the Director of the Centre for School and Outdoor Education Alenka Kovšca.
Upon the invitation of the Apostolic Nuncio to Slovenia Juliusz Janusz, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor visited the premises of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ljubljana.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, the President and the Nuncio discussed the relations between the Republic of Slovenia and the Holy See, and the probable attendance of the former Vatican Secretary of State Angelo Sodano at the Statehood Day celebration which was held on 24 June 2016 in Ljubljana.
They also spoke about the possible visit of Pope Francis in this year or the next.
Exactly 25 years ago, on 2 June 1991, the first generation of military recruits, who served in the Territorial Defence, swore an oath of allegiance in the military training centres at Ig and Pekre. This was also the official start of the Slovenian Armed Forces’ development.
On 15 May 1991, the first training of 300 military recruits, who were the first to swear an oath of allegiance to Slovenia on 2 June, started in the military training centres at Ig and Pekre.
In 2003, Slovenia abolished conscription and established a professional army.
Slovenian Press Agency (STA) news
In cooperation with the Defence Attaché of the Republic of Slovenia in Turkey, the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Ankara hosted a reception on 1 June 2016 to mark the Statehood Day, Slovenian Armed Forces Day and the 25th anniversary of Slovenian independence in Ankara. The reception ceremony was attended by Slovenian people living in Turkey, high-ranking representatives of the Government of Turkey, parliament and army, representatives of diplomatic corps, business people and media representatives.
The guest of honour and the representative of the Government of Turkey was Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock Faruk Çelik who is also Chairman of the Turkish Side of the Slovenian-Turkish Joint Economic Commission. In his opening speech, Minister Çelik congratulated Slovenia which he described as a friendly and allied state.
On this occasion, the Military Museum of the Slovenian Armed Forces hosted an exhibition featuring a selection of documentary photographs and documents illustrating the processes of Slovenian emancipation and military defence in 1991.
The Minister for Development, Strategic Projects and Cohesion Alenka Smerkolj has attended the annual Ministerial Council Meeting and Forum organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and entitled Enhancing Productivity for Inclusive Growth. The Minister’s visit to the OECD began with a meeting with Secretary-General Angel Gurria. Later, she was the main guest at the reception ceremony organised by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia to honour the 25 years of the independent Slovenia. At the ceremony, the Minister addressed Slovenians who live in France, the diplomatic corps and other representatives of the local administration. She pointed out that, within the context of diversity, our young state, which celebrated its 25th anniversary on 25 June, boasts hundreds of different attractive faces.
Furthermore, she believes that Slovenians have demonstrated, on several occasions, that they have the knowledge and the ability to succeed. What unites us are the sustained efforts for a better tomorrow which is also the objective of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and Slovenia’s Development Strategy led by the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy. “In last few months, we outlined a long-term vision of Slovenia together with the citizens. In the future, Slovenia will present a stable state of trust and innovativeness emphasizing the importance of learning for life with which the quality of our citizens’ lives will be improved. However, many steps await us in order to realise our vision,” said the Minister. At the same time, looking back on our journey which united us 25 years ago inspires hope that Slovenia will succeed and that on the 50th anniversary of Slovenia we will actually live up to our vision.
Since 1991, Pošta Slovenije (Slovenian Postal Service) has issued more than 900 postage stamps. They depict Slovenia’s natural and cultural heritage, technical achievements, art, famous Slovenians, sports and other major events. It has now honoured the 25 years of Slovenian independence by issuing a special stamp depicting Mount Triglav, which is both the country’s highest peak and symbol of its national identity.
Back on the 10th and 20th anniversaries of Slovenian independence, the Post of Slovenia issued special commemorative stamps, and last summer it held a competition for a commemorative stamp with which it intended to mark the 25th anniversary of this country. Regarding the basic concepts and selection it consulted with the Protocol Service of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government Communication Office, which is also marking the 25th anniversary of Slovenian independence by setting up a thematic website www.slovenija25.si. This is a contact point for chronological and historical data, current overviews from the areas of culture, home affairs, foreign affairs, tourism, sports and more, as well as a source of rich images and video material. Two decades and a half of the independent country are also shown through numbers and statistics.
The Commission for Issuing Postage Stamps and Indicia selected from among the entries received the creative offering from the design company Villa Creativa, featuring a photograph of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. The photograph is the work of professional photographer Joco Žnidaršič.
The special commemorative stamp was issued on 27 May 2016, and on the same day was presented to the Slovenian National Assembly. Immediately upon the minting of commemorative coins by the Bank of Slovenia, the Post of Slovenia will also issue a philately/numismatic set. The precise date for the issuing of the coins is not yet set, all we know is the fact that it will be in the second quarter of this year.
Symbol of Slovenia
In a plebiscite held 25 years ago, Slovenian citizens voted in a democratic process in favour of independence, and achieved an independent state through peaceful means. In this way we fulfilled the centuries-old dream of generations of Slovenian women and men. Those generations had built their identity and national consciousness through culture, language and symbols, prominent among them Mount Triglav.
The highest peak of the Julian Alps, Triglav was revered by the various peoples (Celts, Romans, Lombards and Slavs) who crossed the territory of present-day Slovenia at one time or another. For a time the mountain represented little more than a border region, but it was invested with greater significance during the Age of Enlightenment in Slovenia. Triglav became the inspiration for numerous poets, authors, travel writers, painters and politicians.
Atop the summit of Triglav stands the Aljažev Stolp turret – a mountaineer’s refuge and the bastion of Slovenian identity, erected in 1895 by Jakob Aljaž, then parish priest in Dovje. Since 1999 Aljažev Stolp has been protected as a cultural monument of national importance, and as such it is highly important in maintaining Slovenia’s cultural heritage. The symbolic significance of Aljažev Stolp differs from the symbolic significance of Triglav itself, which as the highest mountain watches over Slovenia. Aljažev Stolp represents what stands on top of Mount Triglav and tells us that this is our Slovenian soul.
A magnificent view opens up from the summit of Triglav, stretching all the way from the Adriatic Sea, via the Dolomites and High Tauern to the Karavanke, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Pohorje, right across Slovenia to the highest peaks of the Julian Alps. Each year Triglav is visited by huge numbers of people, and climbing to the summit holds special importance for mountain hikers.
Courage, resolve and unity, all these are represented in Triglav, whose symbolic message is also included in the emblems of statehood, and Slovenia is the only country whose national symbols – the coat of arms and flag – feature a specifically identified mountain. The message inherent in Triglav also convinced the Commission for Issuing Postage Stamps and Indicia, which selected the special stamp to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the independent Republic of Slovenia.
The main ceremony marking this year's Slovenian Diplomacy Day was held at the Cankarjev dom hall in Ljubljana to celebrate 25 years of Slovenian diplomacy. The diplomats present at the event were addressed by President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Erjavec. All three extended their gratitude to all Slovenian diplomats who were or are still engaged in this great yet, at the same time, demanding and challenging occupation.
Minister Erjavec pointed out that the efforts made by the then short-standing diplomatic tradition in Slovenia yielded concrete results relatively soon after the proclamation of independence, when Slovenia gained international recognition, which placed it on the international map as an independent state equal to other countries.
In 2004, the Slovenian Government proclaimed 22nd May the Slovenian Diplomacy Day. This date was chosen to commemorate the day in 1992 when Slovenia joined the United Nations, which symbolised the culmination of the state's efforts to achieve independence. By becoming a member of this important international organisation, Slovenia was also accepted as an equal partner in the international community.
At the ceremony, Prime Minister Miro Cerar said that the date was chosen to symbolically affirm full commitment of the Slovenian state to the goals and principles of the United Nations Charter, including the respect for the principle of the sovereign equality of all states and the right of self-determination of peoples, peaceful politics and the principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes, as well as the respect for human rights and fundamental liberties.
Prime Minister also pointed out that the European Union has, during all this time, played the key role in the full array of ambitions and efforts made by our foreign policy, and that Slovenia still sees the EU as an important guarantee for stability, safety and prosperity.
It is in the interest of Slovenia to strengthen the position of the European Union as one of the key global players in foreign policy as well. "For this reason, it is very important that Slovenian diplomacy continues to actively participate in shaping a Common Foreign Security Policy for the European Union and the preparation of an EU Global Strategy," added the Prime Minister.
Furthermore, he emphasised that the Slovenian foreign policy invests extensive efforts into preserving and strengthening good relations with the neighbouring countries as it is precisely such relations that are key for advancing Slovenian political and economic interests while, at the same time, they also enable better protection of the ethnic minorities' rights for people who live in these states and are an important part of the Slovenian national identity.
Prime Minister Cerar also expressed his content how pleased he is with the exceptional progress of Slovenian diplomacy in terms of support provided to the Slovenian export-oriented economy.
The Prime Minister Miro Cerar was the speaker at the ceremonial academy commemorating the 25th anniversary of the events at Pekre. In his speech, he stressed that the lives of all those who sacrificed themselves for the independence of Slovenia are also built into the foundations of our country. The events at Pekre should remain in our memories and in the memories of all our generations as a symbol of the unconditional unity of Slovenian women and men.
According to the Prime Minister, the days surrounding 23rd May 1991, when the Yugoslav People's Army (JLA) and the Slovenian Territorial Defence came head to head for the first time near the training centre of the Territorial Defence in Pekre near Maribor, significantly brought Slovenians together in unity, courage, and the hope that they should endure on the route to independence following the plebiscite. “The events at Pekre were a historical test of the resolve of Slovenians to enforce and defend our decision to establish an independent state even with the use of arms,” he stated.
He also took this opportunity to call for unity now. “At that time, we were driven by the desire to become our own rulers. Today, we are driven by the desire to strengthen our country on the map of competitive and developed countries. We are making efforts to make Maribor a big part of this map,” said the Prime Minister, stressing the Government’s plan to develop a modern training centre for fire-fighters and members of Civil Protection Services in Pekre.
“In the past, we were capable of great acts, and today we also have to summon the necessary knowledge, unity, courage, and resolve in order to endure on our path. Let us contemplate our future with confidence and trust,” he added. He thanked all those who risked their lives in Pekre and anyone who contributed to the first important victory over the JLA in any way.
On 18th May 2016, a ceremony commemorating the 26th anniversary of the formation of the Manoeuvre Structure of National Defence was held. At the ceremony that took place at the Brdo Congress Centre, those present were addressed by the Minister of the Interior, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, the Minister of Defence, Andreja Katič, and Bojan Lunežnik on behalf of veteran organisations. The event was also attended by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor.
According to Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar, today we live in a safe, democratic state, and we are free to think and act as we wish and without fear: “Perhaps we now take this for granted and as nothing special – especially the younger generations, who were already born in a state that was new and different from the one in which their parents were born. However, I find this a foundational and priceless social gain, without which individuals cannot live with dignity and success, and without which there is no development or progress in society.”
The Minister of Defence Andreja Katič emphasised that the formation of the Manoeuvre Structure of National Defence – a milestone project that contributed to our statehood – in the spring of 1990 actually marked the beginning of Slovenia's independence in the military field. “With great courage, at great risk, and in closely guarded secret, the members of the Manoeuvre Structure of National Defence, supported by all who provided their facilities for hidden storage, prevented the JLA and the federal authorities from taking weapons from the Territorial Defence of Slovenia,” said the Minister of Defence. She also emphasised that the connection between the military and militia components, or the “green” and “blue” components, continues to show the unity of the defence and security structures of the Republic of Slovenia in 1990. The Minister of Defence shared her conviction that the operations of the Manoeuvre Structure of National Defence as one of the main organisations in the fight for the independence of the Republic of Slovenia, the operations of the Territorial Defence and the then active Militia in the War for Independence can be compared to two great decisions by the Slovenian nation in the past century: the fight for the northern border and the resistance against the occupation in World War II.
The Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Metrology has traditionally organised Metrology Day every year on World Metrology Day, which commemorates the signing of the Metre Convention, an international treaty signed by representatives of 17 countries on 20th May 1875 in Paris. On Monday, 16th May 2016, this day also had another special symbolic meaning, as it commemorated 25 years of metrology in independent Slovenia. For this reason, some directors from previous years, who played an important role in the past 25 years of metrology in independent Slovenia, thus significantly contributing to the development of metrology in Slovenia, also attended this year’s 2016 Metrology Day.
We were reminded of the beginnings of metrology in Slovenia by the Director of the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Metrology, Dr Samo Kopač, in his review of the development of metrology from 1991 to today. He concluded this interesting historical review of the first 25 years of metrology in independent Slovenia with the final thought that we can be proud that, although ours is a small country, we are not only comparable to, but belong at the very top of, European metrology, due to our expert knowledge, metrological development and the results achieved by our metrological laboratories. In light of this, we would like to foster and promote metrological culture in Slovenia by means of a new metrological strategy, so that it can serve users of metrological services to the best possible extent.
Metrology Day continued with a programme rich in expert content, which included three topical panels: Food, Technological Measurements, and Energy. On these panels, national laboratories and representatives of organisations carrying out verification of metering devices were able to combine their areas of expertise and action and introduce them in terms of integration and networking with the economic sector and users of their services.
At a special ceremony today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia delivered documents on the honorary patronage of events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Ten-Day War. The Honour Guard of the Slovenian Armed Forces also participated at the ceremony.
The President of the Republic of Slovenia emphasised that the purpose of today’s ceremony was to remind Slovenians of the historical significance of the War for Independence and of the people who, in one way or another, participated in defending the decision of the majority of people to become an independent state. This was to become the foundation for the confidence shown in making future courageous decisions.
“In this brief part of history, Slovenians showed great historical maturity in the political, military, and diplomatic sense. We mainly proved to ourselves and to the international community that we know how to join forces to achieve our common goals,” said President Pahor, stressing that it is this kind of political, diplomatic, and military unity, which was required to defend the momentous goals of the nation in 1991, that is necessary for our future. “This string of events that we connected for the first time today should strengthen the awareness of the younger generation in particular concerning the importance of the War for Slovenia, the Slovenian army and police for the defence of our sovereignty,” the President concluded.
We proudly consider the brave actions during the Ten-Day War to be among those events through which we remember the unity in the period of our fight for independence. This year, by accepting the single honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, these actions were connected in commemorative ceremonies under a single name for the first time in the history of the independent state of Slovenia, so that our citizens could be reminded that these actions led us to our independence.
The annual Colorado Military Ball took place on Saturday, April 30 in Pueblo. Organized by the National Guard Association of Colorado the event took place at the Omni Interlocken Hotel-Broomfield and was hosted by the Adjutant General for Colorado, Major General H. Michael Edwards. In attendance was also General Frank J. Grass, who serves as the 27th Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Ambassador Dr. Cerar also joined the event to honor the long-term cooperation between Colorado National Guard and the Slovenian Armed Forces, which began soon after Slovenia gained its independence, in the framework of the State Partnership Program.
Next day, the chief of the National Guard Bureau and the Slovenian ambassador to the U.S. described at a press conference developments that have grown out of the partnership between the Colorado National Guard and the Republic of Slovenia. “The nearly quarter century of partnership between Colorado and Slovenia has tremendous value for our nations and allies,” said Major General H. Michael Edwards . “Colorado’s and Slovenia’s relationship is quickly evolving amid a complex security situation in Eastern Europe which involves a refugee crisis, and the threat of terrorism, " he stressed. The Colorado-Slovenia partnership dates to 1993 when United States European Command employed the National Guard to assist nations in Central and Eastern Europe in preparing for NATO membership
During his visit to Colorado, Ambassador Dr. Božo Cerar also visited the city of Pueblo, where a large American-Slovenian immigration community has resided in the past. Puebloans of Slovenian heritage gave a warm welcome to the ambassador Saturday morning, first, with an appreciation breakfast where he was presented with an honorary proclamation from city leaders. After the breakfast, the ambassador toured the Gorsich Technology Center at Pueblo Community College, where he was greeted by College President, Dr. Patty Erjavec. From there, he took a trip to St. Mary's Slovenian Library and Gorsick Genealogy Center. The ambassador brought gifts for the collection, including copies of a bi-lingual children's books and a Slovenian English dictionary.
He also met with Pueblo native Rudy Krasovec, who serves as chairman of the American Slovenian Catholic Union KSKJ, and former U.S. Congressman of Slovenian ancestry, Mr. Ray Kogovsek, who formerly served as honorary consul for Slovenia.
On Wednesday, April 27 4Saxess Saxophone Quartet performed at the The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Lev Pupis (soprano saxophone), Oskar Laznik (alto saxophone), Primož Fleischman (tenor saxophone), Dejan Prešiček (baritone saxophone) presented music by Igor Lunder, Philip Glass and George Gerschwin. The concert was preseted in coooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia to honor the 25th anniversary of Slovenia's independence and was also listed on the worldwide program of the 2016 International Jazz Day Celebration.
Today, the Prime Minister Miro Cerar visited St. Stanislav’s Institution in Ljubljana. Pupils of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, which operates within this institution, organised a round table titled “25 Years of Independent Slovenia – Paths and Sidetracks”, to which they invited the Prime Minister and the Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana, Dr. Anton Jamnik, as their discussion partners. In the discussion, the Prime Minister Miro Cerar emphasised that independence was the realisation of a long-time dream and that Slovenia had managed to achieve its most important goals; however, he also stressed that it must continue to grow in a way that will enable today's younger generations to add to, and upgrade, existing achievements, so that Slovenia can become even better.
In his discussion with the pupils, the Slovenian Prime Minister stated that our past successes had also lulled us to sleep to a certain extent, which was evident once the world financial crisis broke, which was multi-layered for our society: economic, social, and political. He expressed the hope that we are leaving the crisis with greater maturity, that we are aware that we must make daily efforts in a well-ordered society with a good education system and successful companies and not forget our fellow humans and general values.
“We must continue to work, to learn lessons from our history, and focus on young people. We must build our country, so that the younger generations coming after us will be able to add to, and upgrade, the existing achievements in order to be able to live in an even more satisfied and successful society,” the Prime Minister said to the gathering of young people, adding that the Government that he is leading is making daily efforts to do this.
17th April is the European Youth Information Day. The website mlad.si interviewed Matjaž Medvešek, the Director of the Youth Information and Counselling Centre of Slovenia (MISSS), and discussed the importance of youth information, the results of the poor quality of information and information channels, what youth centres and youth workers can do in the field of information, etc.
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, visited the First Gymnasium in Maribor today, where he was joined by Lojze Peterle, the first prime minister of the Republic of Slovenia and, currently, a member of the European Parliament, to hold a discussion with the pupils titled “The Formation of the Independent State of Slovenia.”
Over one hundred pupils and both high-profile guests were greeted by Manja Kraševec, a representative of the community of pupils. She emphasised that the Gymnasium always had a respectful attitude to the events during the fight for independence, so she sincerely thanked the guests on behalf of all pupils attending the Gymnasium for introducing them in greater detail to the events surrounding the fight for independence.
In his introduction, the President of the Republic of Slovenia clarified that, in discussions on the formation of the independent state of Slovenia, he would like to attempt to inform young people of the most important people in that period of the Slovenian political spring and independence: “In these discussions, I would like to remind you of important and courageous decisions that were first seen as very daring, but then proved to be visionary.”
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, visited Črnomelj Secondary School today, the only secondary education institution in Bela Krajina, where he and Jože Školč, who was the last president of the Association of Slovene Socialist Youth in the period of the fight for independence, held a discussion titled “The Formation of the Independent State of Slovenia.”
Over four hundred pupils and both high-profile guests were greeted by Valentina Ambrožič and Timaž Kasunič, pupils attending the fourth year of the general gymnasium programme. They mentioned the main events in the Slovenian fight for independence, and they thanked the guests on behalf of the pupils for the opportunity to be able to learn first-hand important details about how the foundations of Slovenia were laid.
The discussion titled “The Formation of the Independent State of Slovenia” was opened by the President, who stressed the importance of the events that occurred twenty-five years ago. He said that these events considerably marked our past, and the future of today's young generation even more so. In his introduction, he clarified that, in discussions on the formation of the independent state of Slovenia, he would like to attempt to inform young people of the most important people in that period of the Slovenian political spring and independence: “When you ask what our state and our society should do to make your future the way you would like it to be, do not think, but act.”
At the sitting of the children’s parliament, young people discussed the traps of youth, specifically the traps of the internet and social media, hardships, violence, and self-image. “Do not forget that you are very important and that no one can make any decision instead of you. Never give up and always persevere,” Prime Minister Miro Cerar advised the young people.
At the sitting of the 26th National Children’s Parliament of the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth, over one hundred members of parliament held discussions, first in working groups and then at a plenary session.
Miro Cerar told the youngsters that he respects the fact that young people decided to participate in a parliamentary discussion on such an important topic as the traps of youth. “Adults sometimes inadvertently underestimate young people and we sometimes think that we should provide too much guidance and be concerned for you. It is right to provide advice and give you our attention, but to a large extent you are the creators of your own lives and primarily responsible for yourselves,” he stated.
He invited young people to continue to do the things that had brought them to the Parliament. According to him, no matter how much advice young people receive from adults, this will never be a substitute their own decisions. “Your generation is responsible for itself and, in the future, it will be the very generation that will decide the destiny of us all. Keep this in mind: it is up to you how you will live,” Miro Cerar said, and he stressed the importance of intergenerational cooperation.
Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended the 26th sitting of the National Children’s Parliament. This year, the young members of Parliament are discussing “Traps of Youth.” First, they were greeted by Milan Brglez, the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia and the host of the sitting, and Darja Groznik, the President of the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth.
“For Slovenia, the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the independence of its own state is a great holiday. It commemorates unity, like-mindedness, and freedom. During the period of the fight for independence, Slovenians showed courage, despite the obstacles encountered on the way to their goal. However, we proved that we can tread this path bravely if we tread it together,” Nina Knoll said to the Parliament. Nina is a 12-year-old from the Dolenjska region. She asked President Pahor for advice on how to make her dreams come true. The President shared his experience from 25 years ago, when the founding documents of our country were adopted in this very building, with the youth. At that time, one main question dominated: what would secure our national interests? “Despite varying opinions, there was dialogue in this room. We founded this country, so that we and our children could have a brighter future. Many things changed for the better, and many things hurt our dreams along the way,” said the President of the Republic of Slovenia, and he also gave the youngsters something else to think about: “The actions you take to make your dreams come true should never be dishonourable,” and he stressed that they should be ambitious, courageous, and daring when making the decisions needed for realising their goals, but they should also be guided by integrity.
On Thursday, 7th April, a 20-page brochure on Slovenia was published as a special insert in the Washington Times. This insert commemorated the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence, and was published on the anniversary of the United States’ recognition of Slovenia (7th April 1992). The newspaper also emphasised the 25th anniversary of Slovenia’s independence by using the official logo in the brochure itself and on its front page with the title: Republic of Slovenia: 25 Years of Independence.
The brochure was also published on the all-American teacher website NIETeacher.org, which provided the brochure to 300 American newspapers and 700 other partners, including in Canada and Australia. Therefore, the readership encompasses over 106 thousand schools, 380 thousand teachers, and 14 million pupils. 50 thousand copies were inserted into the Washington Times.
Individual chapters in the insert include basic information on our country, Slovenia’s history, an overview of our political system, national symbols, culture, language, cuisine, Slovene emigration to the USA, the economy, education, castles, nature, sports, and a quiz about Slovenia.
As a part of Information Day on Euro-Atlantic Integrations, Ambassador Mitja Močnik discussed the 25 years of independent Slovenia with the citizens of the Municipality of Nikšić, and then gave a lecture to pupils of the “Stojan Cerović” General Gymnasium on the political conditions, the historical context, and the foreign policies of the Republic of Slovenia today and in the past 25 years. The questions of the pupils in the discussion mainly referred to the process and the advantage of Slovenia joining the EU and NATO, the functioning of the Embassy in Podgorica, and the conditions and possibilities of studying in Slovenia.
On Tuesday, 5th April, the Minister of Defence, Andreja Katič, was the speaker at the final ceremony of the My Homeland –Slovenia Celebrates its 25th Anniversary literary competition. At the ceremony, which took place at the Vič Primary School in Ljubljana, the Minister awarded young authors of literary works. Primary school pupils from the upper grades of Slovenian primary schools and primary schools in neighbouring countries participated in the literary competition, which was held under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor.
In her speech, the Minister of Defence expressed her happiness at being among young people who love their homeland and respect the efforts that enabled us to now live in independent and sovereign Republic of Slovenia. At the same time, she also said that she had been honoured to receive an invitation to join the veterans of the War for Slovenia, who took on the risk at vital moments and fought to defend our young state. “You are the most deserving of our gratitude for the fulfilment of the long-lasting desire of our forebears, many of whom sacrificed their lives so that we can now manage the destiny of our nation,” she emphasised.
The Minister also told the participants of the literary competition that she was proud of them because they use their talents, knowledge, and energy for a noble cause, they honour their homeland with words in poetry and prose, and thus express their respect for the events leading up to our independence, even though they did not experience them personally. Finally, she also expressed her gratitude and recognition to the parents, teachers, and mentors who teach young people values that are very important for our nation and raise them to become active citizens.
At the time of death of a former Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher we, too, paid tribute in the Republic of Slovenia to this great European politician and a friend of Slovenia who played an important role in Slovenia gaining its independence and in German recognition of this independence before other members of the then European and international community.
Prime Minister Miro Cerar reminded us in his response, that we remember Genscher in Slovenia mostly as a politician who played one of the key roles in this pivotal period of European recent history. He was one of those European leaders who were first to sense and support democratic change in Central and Eastern Europe. He saw much further than the Berlin Wall and he understood the unique opportunity that came with its fall. He made an important contribution to us having the possibility of taking advantage of this opportunity, becoming independent and equal members of the democratic and united Europe.
Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec communicated that a great friend and supporter of the independent Slovenia has bid farewell. He had one of the decisive roles in the process of Slovenia gaining independence and in the efforts for its international recognition. Slovenia will remember him as a great friend of our country and one of the key personalities of the Slovenian modern history. In 1992, Hans-Dietrich Genscher received the Golden Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia for his services in the time of gaining independence and for his role in international recognition of our country. The Slovenian Foreign Ministry stressed that Hans-Dietrich Genscher as one of the few foreign politicians certainly remains in the memory of many Slovenian citizens.
Exercise showcases army's tactical prowess
An exercise featuring 230 soldiers was conducted on Wednesday, 23 March 2016, as a show of the army's tactical and logistical readiness as well as a celebration of a key military exercise 25 years ago that presaged the independence war.
The exercise, called Skok 2016 (Leap 2016), tested the readiness of a unit that is slated for deployment in Kosovo.
It simulated an attack by a motorised unit on an enemy stronghold with the assistance of an additional motorised unit and air support, according to Lt-Col Marjan Sirk.
It took place in and around Maribor, Ajševica, the Poček training ground, Novo mesto, Celje and the Cerklje ob krki airbase and partially mirrored the Premik (Move) exercise of March 1991, which involved the move of a battalion from the north of the Primorsko region to Dolenjsko in southern Slovenia.
Premik was the first exercise to include members of two regional Territorial Defence units and the first to involve major distances.
It is seen a milestone in the training of Slovenian Territorial Defence units at a time when Slovenia was gearing up to declare independence, which would lead to a brief war against the Yugoslav National Army just three months later.
The keynote address at the 1991 war games was delivered by Ivan Oman, then a member of the Slovenian collective presidency, who was also among the guests at the conclusion of the exercise in Cerklje ob Krki today.
Oman told the STA Premik had been a landmark event showing that the Territorial Defence was capable of defending the freedom and sovereignty of the nascent state.
On 22 March 2016, Slovenian Rural Youth Association (ZSPM), Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry of Slovenia and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food organised at the Faculty of Agriculture and Live Sciences in Pivola near Maribor a gathering of young farmers – beneficiaries of support from the first public tender for the Support to kick-start the activities for young farmers pursuant to the Rural Development Programme of the Republic of Slovenia 2014–2020. It is the first time that this happened in the independent Republic of Slovenia.
"Who are the people who can push Slovenian farming forward, who possess enough knowledge, courage for business challenges, youth, energy and ability to adopt to circumstances? You are the only ones who can do it, you are the ones who are able to bring changes, you are the ones from whom we can expect relatively a lot and you are the ones whom we need to help" were the words of the Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan, at the gathering of young inheritors of farms.
Changes are necessary in farming, too. Dynamic, younger and more educated generation gained an opportunity to redefine the development of their farms and thus farming as a whole. Particularly when generations are replaced, farms are usually thoroughly renovated. The Minister also said: "We wish to obtain heads of agriculture with greater knowledge, more energy and more audacity to dare and risk more" and he added that the Ministry would monitor the careers of these young farmers individually with the purpose that they succeed. At the end, the Minister stressed that 200 new members will join every year.
In 5 years time, there will be 1000 farms in Slovenia, which will represent the pillar of Slovenian farming and until then they will need help to do this. They will have personal advisers from farm advisory services, education and other types of support. Židan concluded that he wishes to monitor very successful farms, regardless of the composition of the Ministry and that he believed that they would meet several times in the following five years. "Production of food is very important to the country and thus this sector needs to be successful."
The Slovenian Assembly adopted an amendment to the constitution 25 years ago today that effectively extracted the country from the laws of the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, in what was a significant step towards Slovenia's secession from Yugoslavia.
The amendment, adopted less than two months after the independence referendum, determined that Slovenia will regulate its relations with other countries and international organisations in line with international law.
It also annulled all the provisions of the constitution that transferred Slovenia's rights as a sovereign entity to Yugoslavia.
On the same day, the assembly also adopted a resolution on a consensual break-up from Yugoslavia, based on the conclusion of the collective presidency that there was little chance of reaching an agreement on a confederation, which Slovenia had for a while sought.
The legislative motions triggered a cascade of moves that extracted Slovenia from Yugoslavia. Just weeks later a law was adopted in which abolished mandatory military service in the Yugoslav People's Army.
On 25 June 1991, the assembly adopted the Basic Constitutional Charter on the Sovereignty and Independence of the Republic of Slovenia. The country's independence was announced a day later.
The exhibition of theatrical posters by Jože Domjan, a graphic designer, was prepared by the Slovenian Embassy in Washington and put on display in the premises of the he Delegation of the European Union in Washington, on the occasion of the Slovenian Cultural Day. The reception at the exhibition's opening was attended by approximately 200 people and guests were welcomed by the EU Ambassador to the U.S.,David O’Sullivan.
The Ambassador, Dr. Cerar, then addressed the crowd and in his speech he pointed out the importance of culture for maintaining the Slovenian national identity ad the importance of the poetry of Prešeren for forming the first Slovenian political programme which was finally realised with the independence of 25 years ago.
The Ambassador, Dr. Cerar, presented Jože Domjan, a graphic designer. The summary exhibition entitled Eye. Thought. Hand. comprises a selection of the artist's 40-year long artistic production during the period of 1973 and 2013. The theatrical posters are put at the centre of the exhibition, together with the artist's book cover designs, calendar and brochure designs. The exhibition at the premises of the EU Delegation will continue until the end of April.
On Tuesday, 9 February 2016, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended the event at Gimnazija Šiška, the largest sports school in Slovenia, to officially open the permanent exhibition "Gallery of Famous". For twenty-five years, the school has been living the story of coordinating school-related contents and sports-related contents and it was attended by some of top athletes of Slovenia. President Pahor paid tribute to the Principal, Dejan Rudolf, and gave him the Slovenian flag in the light of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Slovenian independence.
The fifty best athletes of Slovenia, of these, twenty-five Olympic Games participants were officially accepted in the Gallery of Famous. Their sports portraits were represented by Aleš Fevžer, a sports photographer. Students presented themselves showing their sports skills in the sporting programme. The group was addressed by Tina Čarman, the former student of Gimnazija Šiška, who participated at the Athens Olympics in 2004, giving the following advice to students: "Do not forget about the education while practising sports since every sports-related path is finished one day. For you to be able to choose a job you will like, you must have knowledge. Let sports accompany you all your life," concluded Čarman.
"The Gallery of Famous gives the opportunity to generations before you, to the current generation and to generations to follow to become inspired by the photographs of their achievements," said the President of the Republic on the importance of the Gallery of Famous. And he gave the following piece of advice to the secondary school students: "By way of their victories, when tops athletes stand on the winner's podium, they show us that it is not true that something is not possible but that everything is possible. We draw the border lines ourselves. If we are ambitious and we know how to survive when defeated, we may conquer the most. This is the inspirational message which is given by you to the young generations."
On the Independence and Unity Day which in Slovenia is being celebrated on 26 December 1990 to commemorate the day when the outcome of the plebiscite was made public, an Open Day was organised at the President's Palace.
On this occasion, President Pahor congratulated nearly five hundred visitors attending the event and the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia on Slovenia's national holiday and wished happy holidays and wished all the very best for the coming year. In his speech, he emphasised that unity may only be built around a vision. "Advocating unity without a vision is pointless because it is not possible. Unity does not grow overnight. It must be nurtured with effort and cooperation," pointed out President Pahor in his speech and added that during significant events in history, we, as a nation and as the state, had to know what we wanted. "It is equally important for us to be united in this regard," highlighted President Pahor in his speech.
Twenty-five years have passed since the independence plebiscite was held when 88.5 of all eligible voters voted for independent Slovenia. The outcome of the plebiscite was officially pronounced three days after the plebiscite which is why on 26 December of each year the day of independence and unity is marked in Slovenia and, like in the past, this year was also celebrated by way of a state celebration. Various activities to honour the quarter of a century of an independent state started with the state celebration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the plebiscite.
We are responsible for this country, and there is nobody else to take up this responsibility, was what Miroslav Mozetič, the President of the Constitutional Court, pointed out in his speech during the evening state celebration for the Independence and Unity Day which took place in Ljubljana in Cankarjev dom. According to his words, it does not mean that everybody is responsible in the sense that nobody is responsible.
"On the contrary, competences and responsibilities are clear. We have the National Assembly were bills are adopted, we have the Government which has to govern and we have the judiciary which must issue judgement. We are citizens who either vote or do not vote," he said.
In his opinion, it is right that, upon the 25th anniversary of the plebiscite, we at least ask ourselves whether we have succeeded in creating the state as conceived by us. "If we wish to assess the path travelled in a fair manner, we should not ask ourselves, what has gone wrong, what has been created out of promises and expectations, but, what have I, what have we done wrong and whether we have done everything we should. We have to free ourselves form the submissive and servile mindset and we should not look for culprits outside ourselves, we should not seek for external enemies," warned Mozetič.
He expressed his belief that we may only build successful state of Slovenia if we consistently acquire, enforce and observe values, foundations and principles to which we committed ourselves during the plebiscite. "There is no other way. However, if we achieve this, depends on us, and us only," emphasized the President of the Constitutional Court on the day when the Slovenian Constitution Day is also celebrated.
The celebration which was marked by a vivid cultural programme was attended by numerous famous people from the political and broader social arena.
On the occasion of the Independence and Unity Day, Dr Miro Cerar, the Prime Minister hosted the relatives of the victims of the war for Slovenia and its combatants. In his speech he expressed his gratitude and respect paid to all victims and everybody who suffered a loss in the above mentioned war and highlighted the importance of mutual respect and the respect for the state. This is our commitment to those who gave their lives for our country, he said.
In his address, Cerar said that after few crisis years it was clear that "we need each other and that we need the state". According to his words, this state would not be what we wish for if we fail to respect each other and the national institutions.
The said mutual respect and the respect of the state is, in PM's opinion, the commitment we have in relation to those who gave their lives for the country or have suffered any losses in the war. "IF our generation and the generations to come will not get this message, the significance of your sacrifice, then everything is in vain. However, we all well know that it was not in vain." said Cerar. i
"Our independent Slovenia is a great achievement and a certain value since we sit behind the table with all other countries of the world which is why we are obliged to nurture it, to maintain it and to develop it further", was called upon by the Prime Minister.
The reception was organised in the President's Palace and it was also attended by the former Presidents of the Republic of Slovenia, Milan Kučan and Danilo Türk and the current President of the Republic, Borut Pahor.
An exhibition was prepared and put on display inn the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia five years ago in order to honour and celebrate this exceptionally important event for the history of Slovenia. Upon the invitation of the National Assembly, the said exhibition was held again in the premises of the Parliament, open for visitors from Friday, 29 January 2016.
The exhibition on Occasion of 25th Anniversary of Plebiscite for Independent Slovenia held in the National Assembly: One million, 289 thousand and 369 times YES for independent Slovenia
On 23 December 2015, the 25th anniversary of the plebiscite for the independent Slovenia is celebrated in the Republic of Slovenia.
An exhibition was prepared and put on display inn the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia five years ago in order to honour and celebrate this exceptionally important event for the history of Slovenia. Upon the invitation of the National Assembly, the said exhibition was held again in the premises of the Parliament, open for visitors from Friday, 29 January 2016.
The message of the repeated display of the exhibition is that the significant events in the history of our state and in the life of each and every citizens are always an opportunity to pursue the path of courage, unity and solidarity. The characteristics which united us as the nation 25 years ago, when with more than 93 per cent participation for voting on the question whether the Republic of Slovenia should become independent, the YES vote was chosen by one million 289 thousand and 369 voters registered in the electoral register.
There are not many nations in the word to have win independence in such a democratic and peaceful manner. This is why the 25th anniversary of organising the plebiscite for the independent Slovenia is being celebrated with pride and honour.
More on the exhibition:
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, visited Gimnazija Brežice today, where, together with Dr Dimitrij Rupel, the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of the independent Republic of Slovenia led the discussion held with the students on the topic of "Creation of Independent State of Slovenia".
More than hundred and fifty secondary-school students and high-profile guests were welcomed by Marko Zlobko and Anamarija Agnič, the third-grade students. They recalled the jubilee celebrated by their school (70th anniversary of the school's establishment) and pointed out that the first victim of the War for Independence lost his life in their community of Rigonci. They added that the students were grateful to the President of the Republic and to Dr. Rupel for the opportunity being given for presenting to them the important first-hand details on the foundations of the Slovenian state.
Today, the Prime Minister Miro Cerar attended the unveiling of the sculpture which was set by the people of Novo Mesto to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the national independence and he then took part at the Formal Academy celebrating this anniversary and the 650th anniversary of Novo Mesto's foundation. In his speech, he integrated both events and emphasized both the significance of obtaining the city rights and the importance of the vote for independence.
On Sunday, 21 December 2015, the Ambassador, Dr. Cerar and his spouse hosted the reception to celebrate the Independence and Unity Day, while also providing an opportunity to socialise on the occasion of the coming holiday season.
In his speech, the Ambassador, Dr. Cerar highlighted the events which had led to the plebiscite vote for independent state and the declaration of independence in June 1991. He thanked the Slovenian community for its support provided during the times of gaining independence and during the period leading to the international recognition of the Republic of Slovenia. He mentioned numerous positive projects, initiatives and activities by way of which Slovenia and the USA constantly improve their friendly relations. Among other matters, he mentioned the wide-spread cultural cooperation and, during this occasion, opened the exhibition by Teresa Velikonja Oaxaca, a young artist. The 27-year old American painter of Slovenian and Mexican origin lives and creates in Arlington in the vicinity of Washington. Her pieces of work in neo-Baroque style is mainly focused on oil paintings, drawings and sketches on which still life is depicted, although she also makes portraits. Her exhibition put on display in the premises of the Embassy is entitled Natura Morta and refers to the winder season when the nature is put at rests and which started with the winter solstice. In spite of her youth, Teresa Velikonja is a renowned and searched-for painter and lecturer in the USA and Europe.
The reception at the Embassy was attended by approximately 120 guests; at the end of the event, the Ambassador wished them all the very best for the coming holiday season.
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended the celebration on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the mass formation in Kočevska Reka - "Day When First Sign of Slovenian Armed Forces Was Made".
The official speech by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the common celebration of the 25th anniversary of the mass formation in Kočevska Reka - "Day When First Sign of Slovenian Armed Forces Was Made".
On Monday, 14 February 2015, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, visited the Letonja Brothers Primary School in Šmartno of Paki, taking part in the presentation of the innovation project "Homeland for You, for Me, for Us". Pupils had invited the President by way of a letter in which they expressed their opinion that the education about the homeland was missing in the school and they wished to know more and better about our homeland. The President of the Republic of Slovenia brought a gift to the school, i.e. a Slovenian flag made of silk, in order to celebrate special occasions and on the occasion of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Slovenian state. Such symbolic gift should remind us that we all are a part of the community, that we have high expectations from this community and that we are also willing to give a lot to this community, so when this community celebrates, this is also our celebration.
The primary-school competition in photography, entitled "Slovenia - My Homeland", in which 74 primary-school pupils from all over Slovenia took part, was organised in cooperation with Janez Puhar Photographic Society from Kranj and the Photographic Association of Slovenia. President Pahor paid tribute to the Principal, Dejan Rudolf, and gave him the Slovenian flag in the light of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Slovenian independence. The competition was concluded with the opening of a photographic exhibition, by a projection of the accepted photographs and by giving the awards to the best authors and their mentors.
On Tuesday, 8 December 2015, upon the invitation by the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, the meeting was held between the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Miran Brglez, the Prime Minister, Miro Cerar, and the President of the National Council, Mitja Bervar.
They also discussed the 25th anniversary of the vote for the independent state and the 25th anniversary of the declaration of the independence which would be celebrated next year. They all shared the opinion that this is the opportunity for Slovenians, as citizens, to become aware of the fact that a quarter of a century ago we were found in an enviable situation and, despite enormous political differences which existed in the Slovenian political arena, we were able to cooperate and come to the necessary political unity in order to turn the changes present at that time for the benefit of our national interest.
The President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Milan Brglez organised a reception for the former Presidents of the Parliament, within the scope of celebrations on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Slovenian state. The event took place in the Podrožnik Villa. In addition to the holiday-season- related socialising, the meeting was intended to discussions on past experiences obtained during the work in the National Assembly. Since 1992, when the first National Assembly was formed, its work was run by 10 Presidents of the National Assembly, in seven terms of office. They are: Herman Rigelnik,MSc., Jožef Školč, Janez Podobnik, Borut Pahor, Franc (Feri) Horvat, France Cukjati, Dr. Pavel Gantar, Ljubo Germič, Dr. Gregor Virant and Janko Veber.
On Thursday 3 December 2015, at 17:00 hours, the Formal Academy took place in the Great Hall of the National Assembly which was organised by the National Assembly and the Society of 90 Members of Parliament on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the plebiscite for the independence of Slovenia.
The official speaker at the event, the President of National Assembly of Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Milan Brglez, said:
"After the international recognition, the progress of our state was fast, not only in terms of economy but also in political and legal terms. Especially, Slovenia was increasingly becoming and important player in the international community. It chaired the following organisations: in 1998, the UN Security Council, in 2005, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in 2008, the EU Council and in 2009, the Council of Europe. However, these foreign-policy related projects, surely bold projects, could not conceal our internal political issues where huge and unnecessary conflicts between the position and opposition were increasingly more frequent, and especially, there was a lack of cooperation between political parties. In the middle of the 90s of the previous century, the lack of the domestic unity was clearly visible in regard to national projects and particularly in regard to national topics for which no opposition or position should take place but for which common active is required. The spirit of unity, tolerance and willingness for cooperation which was characteristic for 1990s has thus evaporated with the daily political activities, and instead of consensus, the lack of consensus prevailed and instead of unity, division and separation. Regardless, hostile Slovenians managed to do everything to become the members of the European Union and NATO, but then, as if the state has come to a state of certain aimlessness, this unity has disappeared and evaporated."
The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Budapest celebrated the "This Merry Cultural Day" and the up-coming 25th anniversary of the plebiscite on the independence of the Republic of Slovenia by organising a concert by Vita Mavrič and Jani Kovačič. The performance was held in the music hall of ELTE University.
The concert entitled "Pop Songs and Prison Songs" which was created on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Slovenia writer Vitomil Zupan were well received by the audience. Among other persons, the crowd included the representatives of the Hungarian cultural and public spheres of life, diplomatic corps, business people and Slovenians living in Hungary.
On Wednesday, 3 December 2015, within the scope of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Slovenian state, the President of the National Assembly, Dr. Milan Brglez hosted a reception for the then signatories of the Agreement of Political Parties and Deputy Groups of the Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on Common Voice for Plebiscite for Independent State, Republic of Slovenia.
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended the event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the vote for the Slovenian Independence, entitled "Poljče 1990 - 2015" and delivered his welcomed speech.
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, visited GRM Novo Mesto - Biotech and Tourism Centre where, together with Ivan Oman, the member for the first democratically elected Presidency of the Republic of Slovenia, he led the discussion with students on the topic of "Creation of Independent State of Slovenia".
The new permanent exhibition entitled "Path to Independence" was opened in the Park of Military History Pivka on 17 December 2015. The exhibition displays the progress of gaining independence of the Republic of Slovenia with the attention being especially drawn to the Independence War of 1991, making it possible for a visitor to experience the war developments in the direct contact of some of the most important exhibits of the period.