Message from Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Janez Janša on Prešeren Day
- Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)
Dear citizens of Slovenia, fellow Slovenian women and men,
Dear fellow Slovenians abroad, dear friends
There are many reasons for Slovenians to celebrate our cultural holiday as a national holiday. Over centuries, culture has shaped our identity and kept our nation alive in this part of Europe, where many different influences meet. It has grown from us and we have grown with it as a nation. Due to the role it played in our history, its essence is ingrained in the foundations of Slovenian statehood.
Aware of the importance of culture for the identity and existence of our nation, the Government devotes special attention to culture. Attention that is not measured in words but in actions and numbers. I am pleased that a great deal has been done for Slovenian culture in the past two years. Although I know that those who see culture through the eyes of demagogy and subjective feelings will be clamouring again, the facts, which are supported by numbers, cannot be denied. The numbers say that Slovenia allocates an above-average share of gross domestic product to culture, which ranks it high among European countries.
In 2021, the culture sector received a record budget in the history of independent Slovenia, amounting to 238 million euros. This is one-quarter more than the previous Government planned for 2021 culture budget. Investments in public culture infrastructure were increased, as were funds for publishing, literary and film activities, various areas of creativity, work scholarships and the self-employed. The anti-corona legislative packages also included many intervention measures to help creators in the culture sector.
This Government also adopted a key strategic document concerning culture, which we have been waiting for since 2018. The mission of the Resolution on the 2022–2029 National Programme for Culture is to establish Slovenian culture as the social factor that enables the development, growth and visibility of Slovenian identity at home and abroad. We also adopted the Act Providing Funds for Certain Essential Programmes in Culture, which provides for an additional 122.6 million euros in the budget of the competent ministry until 2027. Under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the culture sector obtained an additional 86.9 million euros, which is 4.8% of all non-refundable funds provided for by the plan.
Many important projects for the preservation of cultural heritage that had been waiting in drawers for years have been launched in the last year. For example, the contract on co-financing the Center Rotovž project in Maribor was signed. Procedures were carried out, including a public call for tenders, for the start of the reconstruction and renovation of the building, in which new premises for the Archives of the Republic of Slovenia and the Museum of Slovenian Independence will be made available. Thirteen Slovenian feature films which in the 1970s were handed over to the Yugoslav Film Archive for safekeeping were returned to Slovenia after more than 50 years, including everyone’s favourite films about Kekec.
The Slovenian Cultural Holiday is a day when we express our thanks and respect to all those whose creativity and achievements have left an indelible mark on the cultural treasury of our nation. Furthermore, culture has always reminded us that we are strong as a nation only as long as we are united. We live in special times. These are times when we are required to call upon a great deal of patience, adaptability and, most of all, perseverance to find our way forward again and again. Not only because of the pandemic, or precisely because of the pandemic, we should seek a more united spirit in everything that defines our daily life. More of the things that unite us rather than divide us. Culture unites us in the vast horizons of spirit and the broad Slovenian identity.
Let the thought of Jože Plečnik, the 150th anniversary of whose birth we are celebrating this year, that "every adversity we have not bowed to becomes our benefactor" give us hope and faith that, even after the hard times, "for all Slovenes will then dawn brighter days". The dawn is already announcing these brighter days.
My sincere congratulations on Prešeren Day, the Slovenian Cultural Holiday. Let it be merry [merry is prešeren in Slovenian] indeed.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia