STA, 10 September 2021 - Prime Minister Janez Janša has received the award for person of the year in Central and Eastern Europe at the Economic Forum in Karpacz, Poland. In his speech, he underlined the region's key role in the bloc and its Christian heritage.
"Central Europe is defined by Christianity. In this the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity as core ideas of European integration were born from Catholic teachings. What is more, Central Europeans have defended the European way of life through history," he was quoted as saying by his office.
Invoking the Polish Solidarity movement and Pope John Paul II, Janša said the culture shaped by Christianity had inspired freedom fighters despite the repression and totalitarianism that Central Europe suffered during the conflict between the superpowers.
He said solidarity was what bound members of a community and should be "the eternal goal or motto of European integration," but the EU had departed too much from the fundamental principles of European integration - consensus, mutual respect, subsidiarity and solidarity - in its political debates and actions by some of its institutions.
According to Janša, there is "no strong Europe without a strong Central Europe. In fact, there is no truly European union without the countries of Central Europe. Central Europe is becoming more and more what the name of our part of the continent suggests: central, both in terms of economics and values."
Janša also appeared at a panel on post-Covid recovery along with the Polish and Ukrainian prime ministers, Mateusz Morawiecki and Denys Shmyhal, at which he argued that the geopolitical situation had changed and that the EU had to learn tough lessons from the latest developments.
According to him, it is necessary to transform the European economy and strengthen its resilience, processes in which he sees Slovenia playing a major role as the currently presiding country.