I am very happy that I can again, here in beautiful Ljubljana, meet with my Slovenian friends. I still remember my first official visit in 2008. A lot has changed since then. Matej Tonin was at the time a very young and promising municipal councilor in Kamnik, and I was a bit older, but also a promising Prime Minister of the Polish government. One thing has not changed: just like then, also today, it is Janez Janša who is at the head of the government.
Slovenia is present in my daily life not only because of my close cooperation with my partners and friends from the three parties, which form part of the European People’s Party, namely Nova Slovenija, SDS and SLS. I am, like Matej Tonin, an ardent athlete and sports fan, a fan of basketball, cycling and ski jumping. I admire Luka Dončić, who in my opinion will soon become the best basketball player in the whole world, too bad that Dallas Mavericks have dropped out, I am also cheering on Primož Roglič in the Tour de France race. It is really amazing that his main rival in claiming victory is also a Slovenian, Tadej Pogačar. You have reasons to be proud. I wonder, which one of them, Matej, do you wish to win? Taking into account the size of the population, you are a global sports superpower.
Andrej Urlep, whom I met when he was the coach of the Polish basketball team, was once asked: “How do you do it?” He replied that Slovenia is too small to allow itself to waste talents. I must admit that you do not waste talents also in politics, the proof of which is standing right beside me. You don’t waste time or opportunities either. Ever since I can remember, and for sure since 1989, you have always been one step ahead, the whole of Central and Eastern Europe wanted to emulate you. You were a role model for many, you quickly showed that the integration of the old and new Europe is not a political fantasy, but a goal which is possible to achieve.
Today I can also whole-heartedly congratulate Slovenia for the way it is going through this time, a hard time for the whole world. I will of course start with congratulating Matej Tonin and his party. I am here today together with you on the occasion of this beautiful 20th anniversary of Nova Slovenija, and I will be frank: you are the hope not only for many Slovenians, but for the whole European Christian Democracy. You have proven that an indeed not easy synthesis of tradition, modernity and freedom is possible. That one can defend their values and not attack others, that an ideal of an open and tolerant society is reconcilable with effective governance. That one can pursue a tough and firm policy and respect the rules of democracy, pluralism and the rule of law.
By coping better than many other governments with the pandemic, you have demonstrated to Europe that democrats can be more effective than autocrats also in the time of a grave crisis, and that one does not have to restrict freedom and rights in order to ensure safety and security of their citizens.
The European Union needed some time, after the initial shock, to undertake energetic actions in the fight against the virus and for the protection of the Member States against the economic consequences of the pandemic. Today we can safely say that nowhere in the world have so many means been mobilized for grants and credits in order to rescue economies, firms and places of work. What was needed, and will continue to be, was to reconcile conflicting interests and different needs, to heal divisions between North and South, and East and West. In one year, it will be Slovenia as the rotating presidency, who will be dealing with this, and I am confident that no-one else is better fit for this role than you.
We also have to take care together of the unity of the European Union when it comes to very serious international challenges. As Matej Tonin often says: "We are all different, but there is no need that we are divided." Slovenia, and personally Matej as the leader of co-ruling party, deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence, are active in the field of the security of the region and the whole of Europe. The events in Belarus, the continuously aggressive policy of Moscow vis-à-vis its neighbours, especially Ukraine, provocations by Turkey against Greece and Cyprus, an ever worsening atmosphere of relations between China and the West, all this demonstrates how important European solidarity and allegiance to our fundamental values are today. Ahead of Slovenia and ahead all of us are trying times. I am happy that the Slovenian and European helm will be in the hands of such people like my host today.
Zelo sem vesel, da se lahko zopet tu, v prelepi Ljubljani, srečam z mojimi slovenskimi prijatelji. Še vedno se spominjam svojega prvega uradnega obiska tukaj, leta dvatisoč osem. Veliko se je spremenilo od tistega dne. Matej Tonin je bil takrat zelo mlad in obetaven občinski svetnik v Kamniku, jaz pa malce starejši, a tudi obetaven predsednik poljske vlade. Ena stvar ostaja ista: prav kot takrat, je tudi danes na vrhu slovenske vlade Janez Janša.
The EPP is the largest and most influential European-level political party of the centre-right, which currently includes 83 parties and partners from 43 countries, the President of the European Commission, 11 EU and 5 non-EU heads of state and government, 10 members of the European Commission and the largest Group in the European Parliament.
The EPP Manifesto, also adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, outlines the basic principles of the Party summarising who we are, what our values are, what challenges are we facing and what vision we have for the future. The Manifesto was developed in parallel to the EPP Platform document within the EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy”.
The Party Platform was developed in EPP Working Group 1 for “European Policy” chaired by EPP President Wilfried MARTENS ?and EPP Vice President Peter HINTZE. The Working Group consists of delegates of EPP member parties who prepared and worked?on this document for more than two years and received input?from the drafting committee as well as senior and young experts. The document was adopted at the 2012 EPP Congress in Bucharest, thus replacing the Basic Programme of Athens from 1992.