Skip to content

Minister Anže Logar’s message to the employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s statehood

Minister Anže Logar’s message to the employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s statehood

portrait

Minister Anže Logar | Author Tamino Petelinšek/Slovenska tiskovna agencija

Dear colleagues,

On the 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s statehood, I – in my capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs – focus primarily on Slovenia’s position in the world. We first had to see ourselves as citizens of our own state before the rest of the world could recognise us as an independent nation. And it happened quite soon, thanks in part to efficient diplomacy.

The international community had good reasons for recognising Slovenia, not only owing to the favourable historical winds blowing through Europe at the end of the 1980s. In addition to the security aspect and trust in Slovenia’s development potential, one of the reasons was the desire of Slovenians to live in their own state and to belong to the European project and the global family of nations expressed in a referendum with an overwhelming majority.

Three decades later, Slovenia’s outward look on its foreign policy is more varied. In places, sober enthusiasm for the European Union is being slightly eroded by nostalgia for Biblical Egyptian pots of meat and by left- or right-wing populism, but to no greater degree than elsewhere in the European Union. In the political and public circles, there are slightly more doubts concerning Slovenia’s NATO membership. Still, it is my impression that these doubts might be based on ideological prejudice or outdated beliefs about international security despite the plebiscite vote in favour of the EU and NATO membership. We also agree on the importance of multilateral organisations and a rules-based international order, which is particularly salient for smaller countries. At the same time, some of us keep stressing that we must be prepared to live in a world in which multilateral international organisations have lost the initiative and lack efficiency or else their influence has diminished due to the proliferation of various initiatives or initiatives ignoring the different traditions and realities.

Nevertheless, six years ago, Slovenia managed to achieve an almost constitutional majority on the strategic concept of its foreign policy despite all these differing views. However, it does seem to me that certain parts of the concept were written without all their supporters being fully aware of what they really meant. Here, I primarily have in mind the transatlantic, Central European and Mediterranean focuses, which, as I firmly believe, must have a realistic expression for which I personally strove last year – with your cooperation, we strengthened these focuses through strategic dialogue with the USA, the C5 initiative and participation in Med-7. Furthermore, we once again opened an embassy in Dublin, are in the process of opening an embassy in Seoul and plan to open one in Riga.

In international relations, Slovenian diplomacy is formally only thirty years old, but its tradition is longer. One hundred years have passed since the word “Slovenes” first appeared as part of a subject of international law – in the short-lived State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and the slightly longer-lived Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. So, Slovenia is not only a successor state of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, but also of the two entities mentioned above. Moreover, when one reads about the role of Slovenian representatives at the Paris Peace Conference – diplomats and international lawyers, among them Švegl, Žolger and Pitamic – one gets an impression that they strove for a new, Slavic, homeland more ardently than their other southern Slavic colleagues. Of course, both the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and the socialist Yugoslavia were dictatorships, but despite marginalising their Slovenian component, they were stepping stones in the development of Slovenia and Slovenian diplomacy in international relations. In this sense, we have behind us a “Slovenian century”, and we could be likened to the Czechs, Finns, Balts and others who established their own states after World War I.

On this year’s 200th anniversary of the Congress of Ljubljana, we could reach even further back and call to mind the embryonic, quite subconscious beginnings of “Slovenia” in international relations, which recognised the special importance of Slovenian lands.

Here, I would like to recall all those diplomats of Slovenian descent, whose thoughts in both Yugoslavias also – or primarily – centred on Slovenian interests.  And above all, I want to acknowledge all those who in those decisive moments thirty years ago recognised the first signs of new times and decided for Slovenian diplomacy, although such a move was risky and by no means opportune.

My thanks are due to all the diplomats, administrative and technical staff and their families, who over these three decades have promoted abroad the image of Slovenia as an open, culturally rich, developed and pluralistic society, and a responsible and respectable state recognised as such by the international community. What Slovenia is today is also a result of the assiduity of Slovenian diplomacy.

A heartfelt thank you to all of you who have been developing the Slovenian diplomatic and consular sciences and practical skills; on the 30th anniversary, for instance, we now have a second edition of the Slovenian diplomatic glossary and an operational diplomatic academy.

Dear colleagues,

regardless of our different views of the world, I am convinced – as evidenced in the two fundamental documents of Slovenian foreign policy – that we can remain united in our position on which and what kind of international environment can enable the Republic of Slovenia to pursue its key interests – the security and prosperity of its citizens. Today, when different, colder global winds blow, the need for this unity projected outward – along with inward pluralism – is probably even stronger than it was thirty years ago. This need for unity is particularly important now, during the second Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

As the Slovenian national anthem, the National Assembly selected the most internationalist, outward-looking stanza of Prešeren’s poem A Toast. Probably for a good reason. Our anthem could not be better suited to diplomacy: “Let peace, glad conciliation, Come back to us throughout the land!”

I wish you all, at home and abroad, a happy celebration of the 30th Statehood Day. 

“God save our land and nation And all Slovenes where'er they live.”

Anže Logar,
Minister