July 12, 2012

Cetinje, Speech of President Vujanović at Ceremonial Reception on the occasion of 13 July - Statehood Day
President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović hosted tonight a ceremonial reception on the occasion of 13 July, Statehood Day, in Blue Palace in Cetinje.

The reception was attended by the representatives of political, cultural, scientific, business, public and sports life, as well as national heroes and former highest state officials.

Representatives of the diplomatic core as well as high officials of the international organizations and institutions were also present at the ceremony.

The following is the text of the speech given by President Vujanović:

Esteemed High State Dignitaries,
Your Excellencies,
Dear citizens of the Old Royal Capital of Cetinje,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are few states with territory as small as the territory of Montenegro that have so many important historical dates. But I believe that Montenegro is the only state in which one date – its magnificent 13th July has positioned itself as an utmost value. Opulence of historically valuable dates was unequivocally caused by two reasons.

By position of Montenegro which has been, for centuries, at the crossroads of civilizations, religions and various important geographic areas. That is why many found it interesting for their conquests. But at the same time, because of its freedom-loving spirit which never conformed to slavery. It never conformed to slavery because freedom has always been more important than life and its loss was perceived as the most shameful evil. That is why in this area, there was a recognized state almost a millennium ago, recognized since 1042 by the Eastern Byzantine Empire and from 1078 by Vatican, when Pope Gregory VII recognized King Mihajlo Vojislavljević as the King of Slavs.

Since then, through centennial fights, the flame of freedom and honor of Montenegro has been preserved; during the rule of the last ruler of Petrović dynasty, our great Prince and King, Nikola I Petrović Njegoš when our magnificent 13th July was made memorable at the Berlin Congress in 1878, when among a small number of the European states, Montenegro was internationally recognized. The privilege of that time, to mark 34 successive years of peace and ensure the internal harmony, was used by Montenegro for the grandiose material, educational and spiritual development of our state at that time. Sending an eternal massage to Montenegro, that only when we are together can we attain the greatest accomplishments.

This year we are marking the beginning of the Balkan War, with a message that a century from the war means expectation of the everlasting peace, reminding us that we have always been allies in war to the real and true values and better future. Unfortunately, this war alliance and its victory did not empower the Kingdom of Montenegro, whose international repute was far beyond its size and population.

We began restoring our autonomy that was painfully and unjustly taken away from us, on another glorious 13th July 1941, from which time the independence of our state was being restored. Here in our Montenegro, the spark of freedom was lit and a message was sent to fascism that it was neither eternal nor invincible. Here in Montenegro, in Pljevlja, in the last month of 1941, the greatest battle against fascism occurred in the territory of enslaved Europe, in the first year of the greatest fascist power. By that battle, the small Montenegro sent a great message to Europe that the force of freedom-loving, youth and wisdom must win over the evil of fascism. That is why the anti-fascist 13th July is the starting point and basis for renewal of the independence which we democratically attained on 21st May 2006.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I sincerely believe that anti-fascism, as the all-people’s movement in Montenegro, represents our valuable quality and a recommendation for joining the anti-fascist EU. Anti-fascism which means equal appreciation of a man regardless of differences in nation, race or religion, which guarantees the absence of any discrimination and human humiliation. I see the recently initiated accession negotiations with the EU, both as meeting of the demanding standards and as a process of reaching an agreement between the anti-fascist Europe and anti-fascist Montenegro, naturally leading towards our membership in the EU.

This message is conveyed in the most emotional and natural manner, from the historical perspective, from our Old Royal Capital of Cetinje, the Town of Heroes, whose victims and heroes we are proud of and obliged to respect for all time.

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