Minister Fajon at the 18th Bled Strategic Forum »Solidarity is a prerequisite for peace and security«
Minister Tanja Fajon opened the 18th Bled Strategic Forum, which this year is held under the title of "Solidarity for Global Security". The theme coincides with the most devastating natural disaster in Slovenia's recent history, which affected many people and destroyed a large number of homes. The guests were also addressed by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Robert Golob, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.
The major crises of recent times – from the war in Ukraine, armed conflicts around the world, disruptions in energy and food supplies and the COVID-19 pandemic – have once again demonstrated that global challenges cannot be tackled in isolation, leaving each country to its own devices, but only together, by reaching agreements and, even more importantly, by showing that we know how to work together and in solidarity. As Minister Tanja Fajon stressed in her address: "If we do not start solving problems urgently, our generation and generations to come will collectively pay a huge price. This world will change dramatically in an uncontrolled fashion, probably also through natural disasters and armed conflicts. It is our duty to ensure such scenarios are avoided."
The Minister also focused on the issue of populism, which she said posed a serious threat to the international community. "The political method of distorting facts and disseminating fake news for pre-calculated political gains creates tensions within our societies and internationally, and presents a challenge to science and common sense as well as to our core values. Imagine how difficult it is to fight climate change if it 'doesn’t exist', as some populists wrongly and deliberately claim. Therefore, the least we can do to ensure stability and solidarity is to forge a strong international coalition to support international organisations and institutions", said the Minister, adding that despite some deficiencies in the existing multilateral system, there is simply no alternative to multilateralism. "Since we perfectly understand that only cooperation and solidarity lead to overall betterment, Slovenia will remain committed to its UN Security Council campaign slogan 'Building Trust-Securing Future'".
In her address, Minister Fajon reminded the participants that this year's Bled Strategic Forum is also a charity event, as donations will be collected for the people affected by the floods, and that each participant can do their best to help.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Robert Golob, expressed his gratitude for all the international aid that Slovenia has received in the immediate aftermath of the devastating storms, and thanked all those who will continue to help. The EU, our friends in the neighbourhood, in the Western Balkans and NATO have all responded immediately. A civil protection team from Ukraine, a country in war, is still working on the ground. "By showing this solidarity, we show that cooperation at international level is what really makes the world a better place," the Prime Minister added, stressing that no challenge we face will be easy to overcome. "We will have to work hard. We will need tons of money, especially for flood relief and reconstruction. It will take a lot of time, but we must find both, courage and wisdom. And we will, to show that yes, we can, we can build a better world. A world based on solidarity."
In his speech, President of the European Council Charles Michel stressed that Europe is facing unpredictable crises, from the war in Ukraine to the recent natural disasters in Greece and Slovenia. Commenting on the situation in Slovenia in the aftermath of the floods, he gave assurances that "Slovenia is not alone. The EU is also lending a strong supportive hand, along with our member states, along with our partners. And this has made the title of this year's Forum ‘Solidarity for Global Security’ even more resonant. Solidarity gives us the power to stay strong and it makes our EU stronger." In his address, he also touched on the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the importance of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans.
Discussions at the 18th Bled Strategic Forum will focus on three key challenges of our time – the 3 Ss – Solidarity, Security and Sustainability, or how we as a global community can build a sustainable, resilient and socially just world based on solidarity. These topics also reflect the priorities of Slovenia as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
On the first day of the Forum, which this year brings together 13 foreign ministers, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon will hold bilateral meetings with the Foreign Minister of South Korea, Park Jin, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Adel Al-Jubeir, and the Foreign Minister of Croatia, Gordan Grlić-Radman. In the afternoon, she will take part in the panel discussion entitled "Is there a Future for Multilateralism in the Global Grid of a Multipolar and Multi-Stakeholder World?", meet with Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Helga Schmid, and attend a charity concert hosted by President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar.