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Speech by the Minister of Culture Vasko Simoniti at the premier of the Waterman ballet

The premiere of the Waterman ballet on July 1 2021, marked the beginning of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The ballet performance on Bled Island, choreographed by the internationally renowned choreographer Edward Clug, was seen by representatives of the Slovenian Government and members of the European Commission. The gathering was addressed by the Slovenian Minister of Culture dr. Vasko Simoniti and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Minister of Culture Vasko Simoniti at the premier of the Waterman ballet based on the conceptual design of its choreographer Edward Clug, staged by the Slovenian National Theatre Maribor | Author Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU 2021

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Dear Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr. Janez Janša,
the President of the European Commission, Mrs Ursula von der Leyen,
Distinguished Commissioners,
Mayor of the Municipality of Bled Mr. Janez Fajfar,
Members of the Parliament,
Dear guests!

This year, Slovenia is celebrating 30 years of independent state and at the same time, for the second time in its history, it is taking over the presidency of the Council of the European Commission. At this time, we are overwhelmed with a special kind of joy. We are proud of these two important events, which reflect Slovenia's close connection to the family of European countries as a community based on common values, the heritage of antiquity, Christianity and the Enlightenment, and respect for the diversity of cultural and historical traditions of all European nations.

We can say without any hesitation that the birth of an independent state is the most important event in the political history of the Slovenian nation, as independence has provided us with democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human rights. In this spirit, at the head of the Council of the European Union, we will strive during the next six months to fulfill all the tasks that Slovenia has set for itself. At the same time, we will strive to keep the European Union imbued with freedom of spirit and freedom of expression. That Europe, connected by the tragic experiences of the past, will grow, and develop in peaceful coexistence and freedom.

When we talk about the European civilization, we are of course also talking about culture and art. The insights and values ​​that shape the life of a community are based on its creativity, in its spiritual culture, which emerges in various art forms. And it is with art that encourages us to be open to others that we want to solemnly mark the beginning of our presidency of the Council of the European Commission.

We will be treated to the first night performance of the Waterman ballet, conceived and choreographed by Edward Clug and performed by the Slovenian National Theater Maribor. The play is based on Slovene mythology and the poetic legacy of France Prešeren, with whom Slovene literature reached one of the peaks in European literary history. Contemporary ballet art, illuminated by the literary legacy of France Prešeren, will come to life in the ambience of the Bled island, a symbol of the exceptional natural and spiritual beauty of the Slovenian landscape.

Thus, tonight's solemn event also speaks of our commitment to cultural heritage, of our concern for the protection of nature and water, which has since time immemorial gave meaning and enabled human existence. Water is the place of origin, a place of birth and a place of growth. At the same time, water is a space of purification and cleansing, which allows man to leave behind all evil and open himself to the light, the light of the good, the new and the different.

We are proud to be part of a large family of European nations united in a common desire for democracy, freedom, and peace. That is also why we are happy to be taking over of the presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Thank you very much!