European Parliament, Brussels, 21.06.2016
Thursday 7 July 2016
25 years ago … …”one country, Slovenia, and its first prime minister invested their all – future and their own lives – in Europe’s culture, politics and economy. The leader and his country believed in the European Union as a beacon of hope to those overcoming ideological limitations of history and facing repression and decline.”
25 years later … …”those historical events have changed one nation’s “impossible dream” into a reality and remind us how courage, unity and faith in core European values can offer answers to the many challenges of today’s fragile European union.”
Dan Damon, BBC journalist and presenter, former Sky News reporter
The celebration was hosted by Aloyz Peterle, MEP, Prime Minister of the first democratically elected government of Slovenia.
On behalf of Eurofedop and SDZNS, the Healthcare Trade Union of Slovenia, Bert Van Caelenberg was present at the celebration.
Prominent speakers were Jerzy Buzek, MEP, former President of the European Parliament, former Prime Minister of Poland, Milan Zver, MEP, Head of the Slovenian EPP Delegation, and Matjaž Šinkovec, Ambassador of Slovenia to Belgium.
“The Art of the Impossible: 25 years of the independence of Slovenia” was a book, written by Dan Damon, which was presented at the celebration in the form of a debate between the author and Alojz Peterle.
The book’s preamble, “A letter for Europe”, had been written by Aloyz Peterle.
He describes how Slovenia, once part of communist Yugoslavia, became member of the European Union. Although the right to self-determination was included in the constitution of the Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, the country could no longer sustain its unity and disintegrated. Slovenia became independent and joined the European Union. The author experienced this, not in the sense of a wish to be on the right side, but as the wish to collaborate in the creation of a truly united Europe.
Today, we cannot claim to have realised a united Europe in the spirit of Robert Schuman. A united Europe goes beyond the enlarged European Union. A more united Europe would be more resilient to crises and other upcoming challenges.
The project of a united Europe can be continued only with the unity of its political leaders and with the support of its citizens. It depends on us whether we will have more or less Europe.
The European citizen is not really interested in what the competences of the European Parliament, the European Commission or other European institutions are. What has been agreed must function.
In the years to come, the European Parliament has a key role to play in the presentation of new ideas and solutions about the new Europe.
We will not be able to advance with a different understanding of human dignity, different standards of the rule of law, different principles of the market economy.
We should always return to the starting point, the ideal which the European founding fathers agreed upon before starting the European project, namely the inviolability of human dignity, which is the principle developed in the first article of the (legally binding) Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and which is also the most promising starting point for creating a more social Europe.