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Prime Minister Golob at the Bled Strategic Forum: Reconstruction will take both courage and wisdom

The 18th Bled Strategic Forum, this year held under the slogan “Solidarity for Global Security”, was opened with speeches by Prime Minister Robert Golob, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon. In the context of the recent floods that hit Slovenia, the forum also has a humanitarian focus.

In his opening address, the Prime Minister thanked the participants for all the assistance Slovenia had received so far. The EU, neighbouring countries and the Western Balkans, and NATO all reacted immediately. A civil protection team from Ukraine, a country suffering from the ravages of war, is still in Slovenia. “By showing this solidarity, we show that cooperation at the international level is what really makes the world a better place,” said Mr Golob.

Most of the time, Europeans live under the impression that bad things happen far away. The extreme weather we are experiencing may be a local phenomenon, but it is the result of global events. The impact of climate change can be felt virtually every year, so we need to face up to its consequences. “It is not enough to make energy sources cleaner. It is not enough to start using only electric cars. And it is not enough to reduce the consumption of meat or give it up altogether. We will have to change our consumption patterns and habits. This is what we owe our children,” stressed the Prime Minister.

At international level, mechanisms need to be put in place to deal with the consequences of such disasters: “No nation, especially small ones, can face this alone. In fact, neither can the great nations,” Mr Golob pointed out. He added that Slovenia wanted to make climate change a top priority during its membership of the UN Security Council.

Slovenia’s second priority in the Security Council will be to work for peace in Ukraine: “This is the only place where this war can end, at the table of the United Nations. And we will do everything to achieve this goal.”

The Prime Minister also touched on the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans. He expressed his satisfaction that all the leaders of the Western Balkans were attending the strategic forum in Bled. He said that EU Member States’ positions on enlargement had changed as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine: “That is why I call on all of you not to fall behind, to keep pushing for reforms. Slovenia will stand by you and will strongly support you both in the European Council and in the dialogue with the European Commission.” He further noted that the EU also needs reforms and that the next 12 months would be crucial for change; if nothing is done, change may not happen for a long time. He urged the EU not to miss this opportunity.

He concluded by saying that reconstructing Slovenia after the devastating floods will take a long time and a lot of money. We will need both courage and wisdom. “And we will find them to show that yes, we can, we can build a better world. A world based on solidarity.”

On the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum, the Prime Minister held several bilateral meetings and hosted a working lunch with President of the European Council Michel, Bulgarian Prime Minister Denkov and Croatian Prime Minister Plenković. They discussed EU strategic issues, focusing on the enlargement process. They were unanimous that the enlargement process needs renewal, as does the EU in general.

The Prime Minister also hosted a working dinner with representatives of Slovenian business and briefed them on the Government’s measures and solutions to tackle the consequences of the floods. He introduced them to the so-called FRS, or the Fund for the Reconstruction of Slovenia, and called on them to help and donate.