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Prime Minister Janez Janša: “The European Union is united not only through its common economy and policy but also by the values of shared memory, culture and creativity.”

Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Janez Janša at the Opening Ceremony of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue (Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana)

Following the conclusion of the traditional meeting between the Government of the Member State holding the Council Presidency and the European Commission, which took place today in Ljubljana, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and the current President of the European Council, Mr Janez Janša, also attended the opening ceremony of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. On this occasion, Prime Minister Janša spoke in favour of an in-depth discussion on the importance of culture, to be held both within Europe and with all actors outside Europe.

The Slovenian Prime Minister welcomed the fact that the beginning of Slovenia's EU Council Presidency coincided with the opening of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, stating that it was coming at a time when the European Union fulfilled all the conditions to further strengthen its economic and political power. He maintains that the recent important achievements in the area of European integration do not go far enough. “We are becoming increasingly aware of what was already predicted by the founding fathers of a united Europe, namely that the total success of the project of European integration requires not only a large single market and impressive economic growth, but also continual strengthening of the cultural and spiritual aspects of Europe,” Prime Minister Janša emphasised.

“This year, therefore, the European Union wishes to celebrate the richness of its diverse cultures, to highlight creativity and to support projects that promote integration, European cultural heritage research and raise public awareness”, said Mr Janša, adding that it was “precisely this heritage which engendered the universal values of modern Europe: freedom, justice, equality, the rule of law and protection of human rights.”

“The European Union has always resided in its ability to respect difference and diversity, based on universal human rights and values”, stressed the Prime Minister. In his opinion, the Year of Intercultural Dialogue offers Europe a twofold opportunity – to strengthen its belief in itself, in its vital force and in the mission of European cultures and to intensify dialogue with other cultures and, through contact with them, overcome prejudice, achieve growth, mutual enrichment and magnanimity. “The path of intercultural dialogue is the path of strengthening the most solid foundation for peace and prosperity on our planet”, concluded the Prime Minister.


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Date: 11.01.2008