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At home in Europe - safe in Nato

On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Nato and the 20th anniversary of Slovenia's accession to the military organisation, an exhibition and a roundtable discussion on the importance and future of Nato were opened at the Military History Park in Pivka on 27 March. The panellists agreed that the Alliance has played an important role in maintaining peace in Europe and will continue to do so in the future.
Petra Bezjak Cirman, Damir Črnčec and Janko Boštjančič cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony.
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On 23 March 2003, with the slogan Home in Europe - Safe in Nato, the citizens of the Republic of Slovenia voted overwhelmingly in favour of Slovenia joining Nato and the European Union. Thus, 20 years ago, on 29 March 2004, Slovenia became a member of the North Atlantic Alliance, and on 1 May 2004 a member of the European Union, said Petra Bezjak Cirman, Director of the Government Communications Office, at the opening of the exhibition in Pivka.

Stable security and political environment

Ms Bezjak Cirmanova emphasised that Nato membership had provided us with a stable security and political environment, and the Slovenian Armed Forces with new opportunities for action, as Slovenia had been able to participate in various missions and international operations during this period. Participation in these operations is an expression of our alliance and solidarity with other members and represents an important part of our contribution to global stability.

Slovenians and the Slovenian Armed Forces have been participating in peacekeeping operations abroad for many years. We are at the top of Nato in terms of the percentage of our troops deployed in these operations. Our Nato partners know this too. Slovenia is on the road to modernisation and also to increasing defence expenditure. Let us recall that only a few years ago, the vast majority of Nato allies did not spend two percent on defence, added State Secretary Damir Črnčec.

Slovenia - a credible and constructive member

The double anniversary of Nato seemed to the Pivka Military History Park an important anniversary worth presenting, said the park's director Janko Boštjančič at the opening of the exhibition. That is why a photographic exhibition on external media has been prepared. It will be on display for a year, as Boštjančič believes that Slovenians do not know enough about Nato, so they presented facts and figures about the alliance, as well as Slovenia's path to joining it.

Today, with war raging on the doorstep of the European Union, it is all the more important that Slovenia is a credible and constructive member, as the exhibition makes clear. It is an excellent overview of our Nato activities so far and - yes, we can be proud of our soldiers! At the same time, a walk through the exhibition should also be an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of the future. Part of this reflection should include a broad view of conflict resolution, all political, diplomatic, economic and other non-military avenues to achieve world peace. Because when we think about the future, we should never forget peace," said Ms Bezjak Cirman at the opening ceremony.