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Speech delivered by Prime Minister of Slovenia Robert Golob at Bled Strategic Forum on the 28th of August

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Image Source : Office of the Prime Minister of Slovenia

by Robert Golob

First Published in: Aug.28,2023

Oct.06, 2023

Dear Charles.  Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Bled Strategic Forum and welcome to Slovenia. 


This month, on the 3rd of August, Slovenia was hit by the most devastating floods in the country’s history. Within just a matter of hours, 10,000 people lost their homes. Families lost everything. 


We were able to secure relief from the EU. We received offers of aid from our neighbouring countries within the region. Even NATO responded. Everyone understood the severity of the disaster and sent their best engineering teams, along with heavy equipment, some of whom are still here helping our people rebuild their communities. I would also like to express my gratitude to all of you, all of those who have already helped, either physically or financially, and to others who will perhaps contribute in the coming hours. It is by showing solidarity, by working hand in hand with our friends, neighbours, and allies, that we truly make the world a better place. This is a message that we should not forget under any circumstances, not just when we are facing dire times, because you never know when the situation will become too difficult for you. 


And as Peter Grk, Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum said, in Europe, sometimes or even most of the time, we live under the impression that extreme events do not happen here. They happen far away, far abroad. Well, not anymore. The extreme weather that we are currently facing is, of course, a localized phenomenon. But the conditions that caused this weather are indeed worldwide. Climate change is not something that any of us can escape. It is here. It is happening. We can see its impact growing every year, though its specific effects are unpredictable. The only predictable thing about climate change is that it is not going to get any better by itself. This is a message that we must never forget. 


Still, we need to put in place mechanisms to adapt to the catastrophes like the one that hit Slovenia three weeks ago, because they will happen again. And we can only address such a demanding project at the international level. No nation, especially not individual small nations, can face it alone. Even the biggest nations cannot face it alone. This is one of the most important messages that we will bring to the table during our membership in the UN Security Council. We want to place the climate agenda at the top of our priorities. And one reason why I think we may be successful in this endeavour, not because of the catastrophe that we faced three weeks ago, is that, as a very small country with little international clout makes us a very honest broker. I can tell you right now that we are brave enough to undertake this rule. We want to be an honest broker. We want to be sincere, perhaps addressing issues that bigger nations are somehow neglecting due to their own national agendas. 


The second of our primary goals is figuring out how to bring peace to Ukraine. It is practically impossible at this time, perhaps, but we will invest all of our knowledge, all of our time in this one particular goal, whether we are ultimately successful or not. No one can tell. But will we try? Yes, we will, because this is the single most important topic on the table of the United Nations. And that's the only place where this war can end: at the table of the United Nations. And we will do everything we can to bring it forth. 


Finally, I'm really glad to have all of you here, my dear colleagues from the Western Balkans. I'm glad that you all made it here safely. Nobody is missing. Just this in itself is a huge success. But it doesn't stop here, because the message that I want to impart, and I'm pretty sure that Charles [Michel] will do so even more decisively, but the message that I want to share is that the momentum is changing due to Russia’s aggression on Ukraine. The stance of European Union Member States regarding the enlargement of European Union took on a totally new perspective. Things are changing rapidly. In the next 12 months I'm pretty sure that the enlargement process will not just gain attraction but an entirely new perspective. And I urge all of you not to be left behind. I urge all of you to continue pressing on with the reforms, but also to be aware of what's going on regarding the changes within the European Union itself. We all know that we will have to reform our processes within the European Union. And as I said, these reforms will either happen within the next 12 months or they may not happen for a very long time. This is an occasion that shall not be overlooked. Slovenia will remain a strong supporter of your membership. Slovenia will continue to do all those things that are necessary within the European Council and also in dialogue with the European Commission to make it possible for you to become members of our European family, to put you where you belong. That is the last message that I wanted to impart: you all belong with us. 


And as I said, none of these challenges that I addressed are going to be easy to meet. None. We will have to work hard. It will cost a lot of money, especially for flood relief and the reconstruction. It will take a lot of time, but we need to find both the courage and the wisdom. And we will do so, in order to show that yes, we can, we can build a better world. A world based on solidarity. 


Thank you.

First published in :

Office of the Prime Minister of Slovenia


Robert Golob

Prime Minister of Slovenia. 

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