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Prime Minister Janez Janša at the ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence organised by the Slovenia in the World expatriate association

Prime Minister Janez Janša today attended a ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of Slovenia's independence organised by the Slovenia in the World (Slovenija v svetu) expatriate association, which took place at the St Stanislaus Institute in Šentvid, as part of the 27th Camp of Slovenians around the World, entitled "Slovenians 30 Years Ago and Today". The Prime Minister gave a speech at the event. The ceremony was preceded by a Mass for the Homeland led by the Auxiliary Bishop of Ljubljana, Dr Anton Jamnik, together with expatriate priests. The Mass for the Homeland was followed by the opening of an exhibition commemorating Slovenia's 30th anniversary.

In his speech, the Prime Minister spoke about the celebration of the 30th birthday of the Slovenian state. "We remember the day of all days, we remember the times when everything hung in the balance, but we succeeded." According to the Prime Minister, it was a time that made change possible. "But it was not the first time for Slovenians. There have been times before that allowed for change, but wrong decisions were made. Some of them tragically wrong, and we are still healing from those wounds." He added that something similar could have happened 30 years ago and that Slovenians abroad and around the world were key to Slovenia becoming an independent country. "The idea of a democratic and free Slovenia survived beyond the borders of the socialist state, since the purge in Slovenia was relentless." The decisive steps would not have been taken if it had not been for Slovenians abroad and around the world, and there is empirical evidence of this. Thirty years ago, the Slovenian World Congress met for the first time, and Slovenians around the world replaced Slovenian diplomacy which did not exist at the time. Slovenia had its own flag and coat of arms, which was something new for the whole world. The journalists who were in Slovenia at the time saw it as a folklore-operatic act. "Our new symbols were as unrecognisable from the outside as the country that was not recognised by anyone, except neighbouring Croatia which did so on the very same day." He added that at the time, none of the decision-makers believed that Slovenia would remain an independent state. This was also what the opposition at the time had planned. This weakness of the Slovenian voice in the world was minimised by Slovenian compatriots around the globe. At that time, there was not a single Slovenian who did not do something for an independent Slovenia. The sentiment towards Slovenia changed dramatically within a week. Young boys from Argentina asked how they could join the Slovenian Territorial Defence. "We were united then, so we succeeded. Without this help, everything would have been much more difficult, a fact that is often forgotten."

The Prime Minister went on to point out that Slovenian independence was a combination of thousands of decisions that had to be taken. Most of them were the right decisions, as is clearly visible today, 30 years later. "Slovenia displayed unity when it came to itself as a nation, and that is why we succeeded." We would not have made it this far if it had not been for the idea that we are a nation that wants its own country, that has its own identity, that knows what it is and wants to be. This would not have happened without the compatriots who built this idea beyond our borders, abroad and around the world.

The Prime Minister said that a discussion about the future of Europe was underway and recalled that the Polish Prime Minister said that without Christianity there would be no Poland. The same was said by the Prime Minister of Hungary and by colleagues from Orthodox countries. He added that the same could be said of Slovenia.

The Prime Minister stressed that today Slovenia was visible in the world. The whole of Europe and the world had been painted in the colours of the Slovenian flag over the last two days. "So much for how we have no reputation." Anything said badly about us, the Prime Minister said, originates in Slovenia. In his speech, he also touched upon an event from 30 years ago. When Archbishop Dr Šuštar blessed a linden tree 30 years ago, someone switched off the microphone and his blessing could not be heard. On Friday, at the national ceremony, Archbishop Msgr Stanislav Zore blessed a linden tree and the blessing could be heard by all. Thirty years later, something took place that was missing all those years ago.

The Prime Minister concluded his speech with the words: "God bless Slovenia!"