Big interview with Dr. Nataša Pirc Musar: Everyone who visits Slovenia admits that it is ideal for life.
In a few days, on November 13, we will find out who will be the new president of the Republic of Slovenia in the second round of the presidential elections. The right moment to present a very current interview!
We talked with Dr. Nataša Pirc Musar about her view of Slovenia, past and future changes, the beauty of Slovenia and tourism, and she didn’t shy away from very personal answers either. Dr. Nataša Pirc Musar overcomes divisions precisely with her own initiative for greater empowerment of women everywhere in society and also at the head of the state. Her candidacy for president is a big challenge for her and above all for all political parties. Time has already shown that she is the female candidate that Slovenia has never had before.
- Which words best describe Slovenia for you?
Lovely, with love in the middle, diverse, colourful, varied, heavenly, mine, ours. Huge in terms of what it offers in such a small space.
- What makes Slovenia special for living and working?
Slovenia is an ideal country to live in. Everyone who visits it admits this to us. Green, clean, safe, diverse, rich in its beauty, with distances that bring us closer together. When it comes to work, we Slovenians are considered diligent, reliable partners, educated employees who speak foreign languages well and have a good command of the digital world.
- How has Slovenia changed in the last five/ten years?
Time seems to be running faster in recent years. We are changing ourselves, the world is changing, and so is our Slovenia. We are certainly more digital today than years ago. We also understand mobility more broadly than years ago. Critically, I must note that COVID-19 has left its mark. We have become more focused on ourselves, politics did not unite us in times of hardship and crisis, but today we are only more divided. Otherwise, I can say that we are making progress, that we are working on really breakthrough solutions in some areas. But everything is moving more slowly here than we would like and more slowly than many countries that once lagged behind us in terms of development.
- How should Slovenia improve in the next five/ten years?
We must learn to respect others, even if they think differently. This impatience, intolerance, this affective polarisation has reached a critical limit. This is also related to respectful mutual communication, as well as on all platforms and in the media. Otherwise, at the level of state management, debureaucratization awaits us. We must carry out health and pension reform, prepare solutions so that young professionals will stay at home, and provide them with housing and jobs.
We must ensure a decent age for the generations that built our country. We must become more successful in creating added value to raise the level of prosperity for all. We must not forget that we are a green country and that we want to stay green. We still have a lot of work to do, but above all, we must not allow strategic projects to stop when governments change, which the new team often discards and starts completely over.
- What would you most like to thank the outgoing President of the Republic of Slovenia for?
Special thanks to President Pahor for his international activities and building relations with neighbouring countries. I appreciate his idea of the open door of the presidential palace, which, if elected, I will also preserve and upgrade. I also want to continue with the recognition of the apple of inspiration, which I want to raise its importance with an appropriate legal basis.
- What should your typical day as the President of the Republic of Slovenia include?
I’m not at the stage of planning President’s Day yet. But I imagine it as a very varied time, during which it is necessary to appropriately measure work meetings regarding current tasks, consultation and finding solutions for the challenges that lie ahead, planning tasks and obligations, leading a team in the president’s office, public speaking at domestic and international events levels.
- What additional pressure do you feel as a woman who has to balance work and family?
Fortunately, my son, Maks, is already a student and my husband, Aleš, and I share the household chores. Otherwise, as a woman, I feel gender inequality in society. A different attitude is reflected in the presidential campaign, which can also be detected through media headlines. I am the co-founder of the ONAVE movement, which connects over 300 Slovenian women experts from various fields. Our mission is precisely the greater establishment of women in society, and we especially want more equal representation in appearances in the media and at conferences.
- How do you like to spend your free time?
This has become less and less recently. But I am very relaxed by working in the garden, reading a good book, and our pet chihuahuas. I enjoy the evenings when my friends and I play tarok and cook dinners for each other. I like going to the theatre and riding my motorbike in the summer, and of course I go bowling. I also read a lot, I am a real bookworm.
- Which events in Slovenia would you recommend ?
In recent years, there has been a lot going on here, so we, locals, and even foreign guests are never bored here. I would definitely recommend watching one of the performances of the summer Ljubljana Festival, a top-notch concert in Cankarjev dom, a visit to Lent in Maribor and one of the performances of Borštnik’s meeting. Then there is Grossman’s unique festival of fantastic film and wine, the Ana Desetnica street festival. I must have wronged many others with this selection, but there are really many events, and not only that, their quality is also excellent.
- What are your three favourite motorcycle tours in Slovenia?
Coffee in Bled or Portorož and visits to my parents.
- What are your favourite drinks in Slovenia?
I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. But I am a fan of homemade, natural juices, as well as water with certain flavours, such as lemongrass, as well as other fruit flavours.
- If an international guest had only one dinner in Slovenia, what would you recommend for a taste?
This is a demanding task and a difficult choice, given the fact that Slovenian cuisine has advanced tremendously in the last ten or fifteen years. In the summer, on Friday afternoons, I would probably take them to Open Kitchen in Ljubljana, where they could taste the delicacies of many Slovenian chefs to their heart’s content.
- Which Slovenian souvenirs or books would you recommend to foreign guests?
From souvenirs of an old one, such as the beautiful Idrija lace, as well as something modern, such as a series of glasses by the designer Oskar Kogoj, which are made in Steklarna Nova in Rogaška Slatina. However, since we are one of the most forested countries in Europe and boast exceptional cuisine, I would also add a wooden kitchen set.
- What is your most important lesson in life?
I believe that people are good at their core. And yet, even so, I am still sometimes wrong.
- What is your personal motto or philosophy of life?
When I was young and smart, I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise and I am changing myself.