"I hope that a new Convention will be convened on the future of Europe and that an EU Constitution will soon be adopted". With these words, Borut Pahor, president of Slovenia, took by surprise many MEPs. A buzz went up in the Assembly Hall, followed by a warm applause. The speech delivered on June 11 in Strasbourg has a vague Federalist feeling, and eurosceptic political forces seemed annoyed by his audacity. "Is there still someone who looks forward to a European Constitution?" murmured, exiting the Assembly Hall, a British MEP, accompanied with nods of approval by a Swedish colleague. Common answers. In his speech to the EP, Pahor proposed to revitalize the constitution-making process that was believed to have been shelved. "Certain proposals – he said – can only be made by small countries. The discussions on the EU’s future, at this time of crisis, should not be restricted to academic or political circles, they must involve citizens as well". Pahor, almost 50, was appointed Slovenia’s President in December. He served as Prime Minister from 2008 to 2012, and before then, MEP for 4 years. "I’m always quite happy to visit this seat – he said. – It’s the home of democracy. Frome here, the vision of Europe and the ongoing phase we experience are different". He added: "I am a Europeanist. And I believe we will be able to overcome the crisis if we are able to give common answers through the method of cooperation, to the problems involving our economies and our societies. For this reason the Lisbon Treaty is no longer enough". The Balkans and the EU. Tanned, elegant, President Pahor has a Slavish and Mittel-European background and speaks many languages. In a meeting with journalists at the end of the meeting he said: "We ought to step up community integration and its institutions to provide the answers to our citizens’ needs, that include employment, wellbeing, and social peace". Slovenia is also experiencing economic difficulties. "That’s why we need more Europe, to address the challenges that our economic systems have to face. We don’t have the means to be lonely players on the global scenario. This applies to all European states", the president said. In a few weeks Croatia will become the second Balkan country, after Slovenia, to join the EU. Do you think that the European perspective involves the entire Balkan region? "It certainly does. The enlargement process – Pahor told SIR Europe – has slowed down because of the crisis. It’s time to recover a faster pace. I am very happy that Croatia will join the EU. Along with Croatia, we launched the initiative of an informal meeting between all Balkan countries so they may delve into common problems to find a joint and peaceful answer". The role of politics. The Slovenian president spoke about peace as a "major historical target" of the EU, and added that the Nobel Prize awarded last year to the EU "should not be considered an achievement but rather a warning: it’s a commitment for all of us". Answering journalists’ questions he said: "The last European conflict was fought in the Balkans… We have a tragic war behind us. Also for this reason the European perspective ought to be ensured to all States. Conflicts and problems can be solved only through political efforts. In fact, Slovenia and Croatia overcame the disputes on the borders with talks, that led to a final agreement". This same approach also applies to the case of Kosovo and Serbia, to the name issue opposing Macedonia to Greece and other pending questions stemming from the 1990s armed conflicts (the explosive situation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example). Economic issues were frequently addressed in the press conference with Pahor. "A European Central Bank should have full powers – he said, pointing as his interlocutor -. In fact, a central bank tasked with administrating the common currency is useless if there are 17 different economies, 17 different fiscal, financial and employment policies".A future for the young. "In 2008 we were seeking temporary solutions to the crisis that had just hit Europe – continues Pahor – but now, five years later, we should have realized that deep reforms are needed, along with effective tools to cope with the recession, and to prevent further disasters". Thoughts go to the Council of Heads of State and Government of EU27 countries, tabled for late June, called to undo the knots of banking union, of economic and monetary union, without neglecting the long-term budget and investment funds on which they depend to boost growth. Finally a message for young people: "They are the most affected by the crisis, many of them seem to have lost hope. For this we need to act quickly, encouraging investments, training and job opportunities and rebuild trust".
The president of the Balkan Republic is asking for a Convention on the future of integration