Danilo Türk, president of the Republic of Slovenia, joined University Professor Joseph Weiler, director of the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice, in a fireside chat for the sixth annual Emile Noël Lecture on September 24.
In the discussion, titled “The State of the (European) Union,” Türk, a professor of public international law and vice dean at the University of Ljubljana, touched on his formative years in Tito’s Yugoslavia (of which Slovenia was then a part); the Ten-Day War in which Slovenia won its independence relatively bloodlessly in 1991; and the country’s relations with neighbors Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Türk, who was Slovenia’s ambassador to the United Nations as well as the U.N.’s assistant secretary general for political affairs, felt that the region had made strides to overcome the violence it experienced in the 1990s, although the wounds had not healed completely: “I think the scars are there and the injuries are very deep, but life goes on.” He recalled his frustration with Security Council politics as ethnic strife raged in the Balkans.
Türk and Weiler, who is also director of two new centers, the Straus Institute for the Advanced Study of Law & Justice and the Tikvah Center for Law and Jewish Civilization, discussed the politics of the European Union, including the extensive difficulties in ratifying its constitution and possible improvements to the selection of the European Council’s president. Türk offered global warming and international trade negotiations as issues that the E.U. should place among its top priorities. He also touched on Europe’s difficulties in absorbing waves of immigrants, in comparison to the relative ease with which the U.S. has incorporated foreign-born peoples into its national fabric.
Watch the full recording of the event (1 hr, 17 min):
Posted on October 6, 2009