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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Our joint task is to promote the European collective experience

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and President of the European Council, Mr Janez Janša, today in Strasbourg participated in the plenary session of the European Parliament on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

Foto: Bor Slana/Bobo

In his address, Prime Minister Janez Janša compared the Europe of fifty years ago with present times, stressing that a look taken at the path travelled and at the flourishing of European democracy over the past half century can indeed fill us with pride and a feeling of gratitude to the founding fathers responsible for the European ideal. “Twenty-seven Heads of State and Government, more than a third of whom were living under totalitarian regimes less than twenty years ago, will be taking decisions tomorrow around the same table. Practically all of wider Europe now also lives in freedom and democracy. This is an achievement worth embracing and celebrating,” said the Slovenian Prime Minister.

He stressed that in the multipolar world we are witnessing fifty years on, there is no longer just economic or political competition but, increasingly, also cooperation in seeking answers to current challenges. “If the first fifty years of the EU have been dedicated to the European agenda – to our own political and economic development and reform – the next fifty years will most certainly also bring the global agenda to the forefront of our attention,” said the Prime Minister, referring as proof of this to the agenda of the European Council session that will begin in Brussels tomorrow. “It is perfectly clear that we shall not provide appropriate answers to the “Lisbon” challenges (i.e. energy and climate change issues and turmoil on the financial markets) unless we take global trends and global stakeholders into consideration and include them all in our activities,” stressed the Prime Minister.

The Slovenian Prime Minister commented that, in the same way that the Treaties of Rome had brought new responsibilities to the Parliamentary Assembly in 1958, the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 signified a major step forward for the European Parliament. “The co-decision procedure will be extended to almost all European policy areas and Parliament’s role will be enhanced in democratic supervision, concluding treaties and appointing the top European representatives,” stressed the Prime Minister, highlighting the leading role of the European Parliament in the area of human rights and intercultural dialogue.

The range of EU activities is increasing all the time but, as the Prime Minister said, a single rule applies to them all: success is directly proportional to unity – unity between Member States, sectors, interest groups, generations, and between regional, national, European and world stakeholders. “Our joint task is therefore to promote the European collective experience. From this experience, we can draw the strength to address current challenges. Looking back must go hand in hand with thinking ahead. Had we not joined forces fifty years ago, we would probably not be living in peace and prosperity today. The same is true of the next fifty years,” concluded Mr Janša.


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Date: 13.03.2008