Foreign policy and defense
After independence in 1991, the main
objective of Slovenian foreign policy was to integrate
the country into the Western world. Slovenia became a
member of both the EU and the NATO defense alliance in
2004. Some wear and tear has occurred mainly with
Croatia, but generally relations are good with
The application for EU membership was submitted in
1996; the formal membership negotiations began in 1998
and ended in 2002. At the time of the Great Eastern
enlargement in 2004, Slovenia was financially and
administratively one of the best prepared by the ten new
member states. In 2007 Slovenia became a member of the
euro zone and in the Schengen cooperation. The latter
meant, among other things, that passport controls at the
borders were abolished. Slovenia's southern border thus
became the border for the Schengen countries' passport
union and cooperation on border guarding.
Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Slovenia for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Illegal immigration to the country has increased
sharply since the beginning of the 2000s, but the
majority of immigrants move on to other countries in
Western and Central Europe. In connection with the great
refugee crisis in Europe in 2015, hundreds of thousands
of people passed through Slovenia.
Relations with Italy were strained for years
immediately after independence. The situation improved
in the mid-1990s, when the countries resolved a number
of property disputes. Since 2001, when the Italian
minority in Slovenia gained strengthened rights,
relations can be described as good.
Slovenes in Austria
The situation of the Slovenian minority in Austria
gave rise to contradictions between the countries in the
1990s when the Slovenes in Carinthia felt crowded by the
nationalist policies of the then state government. In
early 2017, the government in Slovenia reacted sharply
to a proposal for a new state constitution in Carinthia,
according to which the Slovenian minority population
would not receive special status. Since EU accession,
relations between the countries have otherwise generally
Contacts with Croatia were strained during most of
the 1990s, but they improved after the death of Croatian
President Franjo Tuđman in 1999. But a dispute over the
border crossing in the Piran Gulf of the Adriatic Sea
has continued to create problems. For Slovenia with its
short coast, access to international water is of great
importance. The disagreement was about to end Croatia's
application for membership in NATO, and delayed the
country's accession to the EU. In autumn 2009, the
parties agreed to submit the matter to arbitration.
However, in the summer of 2015, Croatia unilaterally
withdrew from the process, after it was revealed that
contacts existed between the Slovenian member of the
arbitration panel and the Slovenian government. However,
Croatia did not accept the arbitration and Slovenia
therefore turned to the European Court of Justice to
resolve the dispute. However, in January 2020, the Court
ruled that it has no right to adjudicate on the matter
Dispute over bank accounts
Another protracted dispute was the Slovenian bank
Ljubljanska Banka's debts to Croatian account holders
since the time before independence. Around 130,000
people in Croatia (and even more in Bosnia and
Herzegovina) had their assets frozen after the bank was
reformed without the new Nova Ljubljanska Banka taking
responsibility for the former bank's debts. The European
Court of Human Rights ruled in 2014 that the state must
compensate those affected.
Problems also existed around the jointly owned
nuclear power plant in Slovenian Krško, which was built
before independence to provide energy for both countries
(see Natural Resources, Energy and Environment).
Slovenia supported NATO bombings to induce Serbian
forces to withdraw from Kosovo in 1999 and stated early
support for Kosovo's right to independence (see
Kosovo-Modern History). Following the fall of Serbian
leader Slobodan Milošević in the fall of 2000,
diplomatic relations were established between Slovenia
and what was then left by Yugoslavia, that is,
Serbia-Montenegro. To better relations, after the fall
of Milošević, the Belgrade government no longer regarded
itself as the sole heir to the former Yugoslav assets
but recognized the inheritance rights of the other
ex-Yugoslav states. When Montenegro declared its
independence in 2006, Slovenia quickly recognized the
new state. The same thing happened when Kosovo declared
independence in February 2008. Slovenia today has the
ambition to act as a bridge bridge between the EU and
the Balkan countries.
Slovenia has its own military forces shortly before
independence. The general military duty was abolished in
2003. Slovenia has participated in a number of NATO
efforts, including in the Balkans.
FACTS - DEFENSE
7 250 men (2017)
The air Force
650 men (2015)
170 men (2015)
Military expenditure's share of GDP
1.0 percent (2017)
Military spending's share of the state budget
2.5 percent (2017)
Janez Drnovšek is elected President. The post of head of government is taken
over by Anton Rop, who will also become a new party leader for LDS.
The government is falling
Drnovšek loses a vote of confidence in parliament and the government breaks.
Christian Democrat Andrej Bajuk forms a new government with his party the
Slovenian People's Party (SLS), the LDS and the right-wing
party the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS).
1996 Defense and Foreign Policy
New victory for LDS
LDS is leading the election and forming a new government under Janez
1992 Defense and Foreign Policy
LDS wins first choice
The first elections after independence are held. Slovenian Liberal Democrats
(LDS) win the parliamentary elections and form government with party leader
Janez Drnovšek as prime minister. Former Communist leader Milan Kučan wins as an
independent candidate the presidential election by a large margin.
Slovenia becomes a member of the United Nations (UN).
1991 Defense and Foreign Policy
New constitution is adopted
The Slovenian Parliament adopts a new constitution.
Slovenia will formally become independent on October 7 and a new national
currency, tolar, will be introduced.
Slovenia proclaims independence
Slovenia proclaims full independence and ends up at war with the Yugoslav
army. Up to 80 people are killed in the war that lasts for ten days.
1990 Defense and Foreign Policy
Referendum on independence
Nearly 90 percent of voters vote for full independence.
Slovenia declares itself sovereign
The Slovenian Parliament declares Slovenia as a sovereign state and the
Slovenes begin to organize their own armed forces.