predsedniski panel pogovor

The Slovenian President's second day at the BSF focused on finding opportunities for a just future

The President of the Republic of Slovenia Nataša Pirc Musar began the second day of the Bled Strategic Forum 2023 (BSF) by chairing a presidential panel entitled "Global Challenges – Voices from the Youth", which was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, the President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović, as well as by three representatives of young people, Vehid Fetić, Mirjana Nikolovska and Nina Vukoslavičević.

Bled, 29 Aug 2023


President Pirc Musar started by warmly welcoming the panellists, thanking them for their participation and willingness to share their views on a topic to which she herself is also dedicated. The President firmly believes that the participation of young people in policy-making and the system of multilateralism is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and a more sustainable, peaceful and solidarity-based future for all. The effects of climate change, inequality, poverty and conflict impact some more than others, and within the most affected groups, young people are particularly vulnerable. This is one of the reasons why they, regrettably, frequently opt to leave their hometowns to seek opportunities abroad. With each passing generation, the repercussions of the system in which we live become increasingly evident and difficult to manage. Consequently, the problem of emigration has grown more pressing.

The Slovenian President took the situation in the Western Balkans as a case study to derive insights into the situation of young people in today's international community. The young panellists presented their personal stories of growing up in the Western Balkans and the challenges they faced, particularly during their education and early career journeys. They highlighted youth emigration and political instability as the biggest challenges of the region.

Challenges related to young people today, including the brain drain, are common to many countries in both neighbouring regions and around the world, as highlighted by the Moldovan President Maia Sandu. She presented the situation of young people in Moldova, opening the floor for a discussion comparing practices in other countries. The President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović also took an active part in this discussion.

According to the Slovenian President, the lively discussion showed that panels such as this one serve as a call to action for pursuing inclusive policies. These policies aim to address the issues that drive young people to leave their homes and strive for a better life, equal opportunities and dignity for all – that is the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights.

Later in the day, President Pirc Musar held a bilateral meeting with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the Belarusian opposition leader, with whom she discussed the situation in her country and the region. The Slovenian President expressed her concern about the escalating situation and reaffirmed Slovenia's continued support for a free, independent and democratic Belarus.

This was followed by a bilateral meeting, which marked the second encounter between President Pirc Musar and President of the Republic of Moldova Maia Sandu. The Slovenian President thanked the Moldovan President for her participation in the Forum and in the morning presidential panel. The two Presidents then discussed the situation in Moldova, with President Pirc Musar expressing her strong support for President Sandu's continued implementation of the reform agenda and political and economic integration with the EU. The Slovenian President reiterated that Slovenia will continue to provide development assistance to Moldova. She also expressed her solidarity with the Moldovan people who have been affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine across various domains, including security, economy, energy and society. In this context, the two presidents also reasserted the dangers of the emergence of disinformation and cyberattacks, which are causing a great deal of instability and tension in Moldova, and agreed on the need to address this challenge more decisively. After the discussion, the two presidents had lunch, hosted by the Slovenian President in honour of the Moldovan President.

In the afternoon, President Pirc Musar received Tadashi Maeda, Managing Director and CEO of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The main topics of discussion were opportunities for cooperation between Japan and Slovenia in digitalisation, clean energy and environmental projects contributing to carbon neutrality and a high-quality infrastructure.

The last meeting held by the Slovenian President on the margins of this year's BSF was with Miroslav Lajčák, EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues. President Pirc Musar briefed Mr Lajčák on the plans for this year's Brdo–Brijuni Process Summit to be held in Skopje on 11 September, and presented her efforts to advance the European perspective of the Western Balkans. They also discussed the state of dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and the prospects for implementing the agreement on the normalisation of relations.

Video of Presidential panel: Global Challenges - Voices from the Youth - Bled Strategic Forum 2023