STA, 24 June 2019 - Its own state, especially for a nation as small as Slovenia's, is an asset in its own right, President Borut Pahor said as he addressed the national ceremony in Ljubljana's Congress Square on Monday, the eve of Statehood Day, which marks the day in 1991 when parliament passed the needed documents to declare independence.
"The establishment of an independent state 28 years ago is the most glorious milestone of our national history", and it "makes us an equal part of the global architecture", said Pahor.
He recalled the May Declaration, a document read in Congress Square 30 years ago in which writers and other groups called for democracy, a sovereign Slovenia and its integration with Europe.
"I don't think there is a national political manifesto more clear, more inspiring, more visionary and more brief than this one," he stressed.
Taking a look ahead, Pahor said parents and grandparents had the responsibility to enable their children a decent future to the best of their abilities.
This means "creating a tolerant society in which everyone can express themselves freely while also respecting the dignity and freedom of the other".
It also means "creating a society which is economically and socially strong and well integrated, but also competitive and solidarity-based enough so that it can create a lot and excellently, and distributes fairly what it has created".
It moreover implies acting to tackle climate change, and always address even the most complex of problems in a peaceful manner, according to Pahor.
Although we don't know what the future holds for us, we do know that in case of new watershed moments we will be able to take action more effectively because we are sovereign and have our own state, stressed Pahor.
The national ceremony is being attended by a number of politicians and other high-profile guests, including Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Speaker Dejan Židan.
Prior to the ceremony, the National Assembly met for a ceremonial session it holds before major national holidays, and Pahor hosted a reception for the relatives of military, police and civilian victims of the independence war, which broke out when the Yugoslav People's Army attacked the newly-declared state.
"We must never forget that Slovenia was attacked after it declared independence, but successfully countered the attack in a war," Pahor said at the reception at the Presidential Palace, which was also attended by Šarec as well as the defence and interior ministers.
War veterans used the occasion to urge the government to regulate the status of disabled war veterans who have not yet had their status recognised.
Rudolf Lah from the Association of Disabled War Veterans and Families of the Fallen in the 1991 War urged the government "to recognise our sacrifices and tackle the problems which we have been pointing to at all annual receptions".
Drago Koprčina, who heads the association, told the STA the Marjan Šarec government had appointed a task force to address the open issues.
Official statistics show that the ten-day independence war claimed the lives of 19 Slovenian soldiers and police officers, with another 182 Slovenians wounded.