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Prime Minister: “Endlessly waiting for a global response will not guarantee change.”

  • Former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec (2018 - 2020)
Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec addressed the attendees of this year’s Bled Strategic Forum, which is focused on sustainable development and resource management.

Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Šarec addressed the attendees of this year’s Bled Strategic Forum | Author Tamino Petelinšek, STA

In his introductory address at the opening of the forum, the prime minister expressed his hopes that today’s and tomorrow’s discussions at the forum will be sincere and results-oriented, as we are running out of time to implement positive measures. A unified and coordinated confrontation with global challenges is urgently required.

“When I speak about factors of instability and methods for confronting them, I firmly believe that stability and security are now tied to sustainability more than ever before. “Sustainable development now” could be the slogan for the discussions at the forum.” The prime minister also expressed his belief that leaders and politicians are among those with the greatest amount of responsibility: “Endlessly waiting for a global response will not guarantee change. The time is now for parallel actions from the bottom up. We have to start wherever this is possible. We have to provide sustainability at the level of the individual, at the national level and at the EU level, and demand it at the global level.”

According to the prime minister, a sustainable approach is the only way we can make a significant contribution to stability and security, particularly in the fight against climate change, water supply, reliable food supply, the preservation of biodiversity and other areas, and it will be crucial to confront our current challenges and threats in a coordinated and effective manner. The fight against terrorism, hybrid threats and cybersecurity are areas that will require the highest level of preparedness and responsiveness. The prime minister also expressed his hope that the participants at the forum will engage in in-depth discussions on respect for human rights and multilateralism, the discharge of assumed obligations, and international law, norms and standards.

All of this is also significant when dealing with mass migrations. This is not a new challenge or one that can be solved overnight. “Therefore dealing with mass migrations is a task that we have to address responsibly from the perspective of human rights and solidarity,” said the prime minister.

He also referred to technological advances, noting that although they are amazing, we will have to know how to take advantage of the opportunities brought by digitalisation, robotics, artificial intelligence and automation, and to develop appropriate laws in the individual areas.

The prime minister also specifically emphasised the role of the EU and Slovenia’s expectations with regard to the role of the EU. Slovenia advocates a strong, connected and unified EU, which must remain an area of security and stability that can effectively confront the key challenges and threats of the modern world, and at the same time provide solidarity and the highest standards of human rights and dignity. “We have to return to trusting the EU and its institutions, in sincere cooperation and under the rule of law. Individual people have to be placed at the centre of our activities.”

In order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable society and socially sustainable economic changes, the EU has to be focused on the future. “Slovenia is ready to cooperate on this,” he said.

At the end he noted that the Slovenian government has set itself ambitious objectives. He mentioned that the first UNESCO artificial intelligence centre will be established in Slovenia. He also noted that Slovenia is ranked in 12th place among 162 countries in this year’s report on the meeting of targets for the UN Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly in removing extreme forms of poverty and providing access to greener energy resources. “We are aware of the value of water and access to it. Slovenia was one of the first countries to make access to drinking water a constitutional right. We also want to be leaders in the area of environmental protection.”

Due to our awareness of the importance of sustainability, this will also be an underlying theme during Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council in the second half of 2021. Another important topic will be the expansion of the EU, with regard to which Slovenia remains a vocal advocate of the inclusion of the Western Balkans region.