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At the Olympic Games, we promote the Olympic spirit, which is the basis of the European sport model - an integral part of the European way of life

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission vice-president and Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life and the Prime Minister Janez Janša addressed a letter to the President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach proposing that when the Slovenian team arrives in the parade of nations at the official opening ceremony of the 2020 Olympics, in additional to the Slovenian national flag, it also carries the flag of the European Union.

"On Friday 23 July, the 2020 Olympic Games will open in Tokyo, a celebration of sport and togetherness much anticipated across the globe. The 2020 Olympic Games are particularly special as they come after more than a year of hardship for our societies all over the world. Their postponement demonstrated the unprecedented impact of the pandemic considering the Olympic Games have only ever been prevented from happening by war. The International Olympic Committee took the right decision last year on the need to postpone the Games; and it took the right decision to hold the games this year as an example of perseverance and of the enduring ability of humanity to adjust in challenging times and as a symbol of how unity in sport can offer encouragement, joy and inspiration to people," wrote European Commissioner Margaritis Shinas and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša at the start of their letter.

"Ever since their creation in Greek antiquity and their rebirth in modem times, the Olympic Games have promoted peace and unity for centuries. They are a powerful symbol of peaceful coexistence, tolerance and solidarity - values that lie at the foundation of the European Union. Sport itself is recognised in the European Union Treaty especially for its social and educational function and the EU now has specific programmes to promote sport for youth. More recently, the creation of a portfolio on promoting the European Way of Life included sport in its composition as a signal of its contribution to the European Union’s values and foundations," continued the European Commissioner and the Slovenian Prime Minister. They also expressed their belief that, as two organisations united by these shared values, the European Union and the International Olympic Committee are uniquely positioned to promote peace and understanding at a time when the world needs it most.

"As Prime Minister of the country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and as the European Commission Vice President for the Promotion of the European Way of Life, we would therefore like to propose that on the occasion of the presentation of national teams at the official opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, the Slovenian Olympic team enter the stadium bearing the Slovenian flag alongside the flag of the European Union. This will render Slovenian athletes ambassadors for European unity and the values underpinning our Union which match those of the Olympic movement," highlighted Commissioner Shinas and Prime Minister Janša. They concluded the letter by assuring the President of the International Olympic Committee that they would fully support him in any way he deemed appropriate in making this special and historical gesture, which could serve as a powerful representation of how unity and peace should be celebrated throughout this event, as they are fundamental to both the European and Olympic spirit.