Prime Minister Robert Golob visits the Holy See: We are aware of the need for peace and reconciliation
Prime Minister Robert Golob visited the Holy See today, on 17 December 2022. He was received by Pope Francis in a private audience.
After the meeting, the Prime Minister said that the visit to the Holy See had been a special experience and a motivation and inspiration for further activities: “This year we have been confronted with the war in Ukraine, and we are even more aware of the need for peace and reconciliation, which was the main topic of today's talks.”
The Prime Minister and Pope Francis spoke about the need for us as a society to stop dwelling on the past and on the differences between people, but instead join forces to create a better future. In the continuation, they talked about the activities which would bring stability and reconciliation to the Western Balkans. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is in a way a miniature version of the Balkans and a neuralgic point. But candidate status gives hope to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We should seize this moment for a transformation bringing about a political and administrative change,” stressed Prime Minister Golob.
The Prime Minister also met with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher.
They exchanged views on the consequences of the Russian aggression against Ukraine and on the situation in the Western Balkans. In this context, the Prime Minister emphasised that the granting of EU candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered a great success of Slovenian diplomacy. Slovenia succeeded in ensuring a consensus of all 27 EU Member States, and the EU has thus given hope to all the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Today's visit concludes the efforts to support the countries of the Western Balkans on their European path and efforts at conciliation and reconciliation between them. We count on the support of the Holy See's diplomacy in these endeavours,” said Prime Minister Golob.
At the request of his hosts, the Prime Minister explained the situation on the energy markets, where the problem now is not the supply of energy, but the influence of speculative capital on the markets. He went on to say that Europe must send a clear message to speculators that it will not allow them to destroy competitiveness for their own profits.
The interlocutors also discussed migration, with Robert Golob confirming that Slovenia is open to the integration of refugees who wish to stay in Slovenia and stressing that Slovenia is removing the fence on its border with Croatia, which should never have been there in the first place.
The Prime Minister and the Secretary of State of the Holy See exchanged their views of the level of inter-state dialogue achieved. Slovenia considers relations to be friendly, with a regular dialogue between Slovenia and the Holy See. “I am a man of dialogue, which is why I have already met with the President and Vice-President of the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, Andrej Saje and Peter Štumpf, and I am also planning to meet with Slovenian bishops in the first half of next year to agree on how to maintain a constant dialogue in the future,” the Prime Minister said. The interlocutors expressed their interest in continuing the dialogue that started a few months ago.
Prime Minister presents gifts to the Pope and the Secretary of State on the occasion of his visit
The Prime Minister presented the Pope with a replica of Plečnik's door handle of the National University Library adorned with horse’s heads. The heads mimic Pegasus, the mythological winged horse which in this case symbolises a guide for library visitors to the world of knowledge. He also presented the Pope with the national team jersey of Andres Vombergar, a Slovenian born in Argentina who is a member of the Slovenian national football team. Pope Francis also received a gift of walnut potica, one of Slovenia's officially protected desserts, which has been a staple of the festive menu of Slovenians for centuries. Tradition has it that cracking the walnuts for the filling should also crack all your troubles.