- Foreign relations of Slovenia
Sloveniadeclared independence in 1991, its Governments have underscored their commitment in improving cooperation with neighbouring countries and to actively contribute to international efforts aimed at bringing stability to Southeast Europe. Resource limitations have nevertheless been a problem hindering the efficiency of the Slovenian diplomacy. In the 1990s, foreign relations, especially with Italy, Austriaand Croatia, triggered internal political controversies. In the last eight years, however, a wide consensus has been reached among the vast majority of Slovenian political parties to jointly work in the improvement of the country's diplomatic infrastructure and to avoid politicizing the foreign relations by turning them into an issue of internal political debates.
* Slovenia is engaged with 29 countries in bilateral military exchange - most actively with the
United States- and in regional cooperative arrangements in Central and Southeast Europe. Slovenia participates in five major multinational regional peacekeeping bodies;
* Together with
Hungaryand Italy, Slovenia formed a Multinational Land Force(the so-called Trilateral Brigade) in April 1998 with regional peacekeepingability. Further non-military cooperation within the Trilateral includes the fields of transportation infrastructure, fighting money laundering and organized crime, WMD non-proliferation, border controls, and environmental protection;
* Slovenia is a member of
Central European Nations Cooperation on Peacekeeping(CENCOOP), together with Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland. Within this organization, a combined infantry peacekeeping unit was formed March 1998;
* Slovenia has observer status, like the United States, in (the Turkish proposed)
Multinational Peacekeeping Force SoutheastEuropean (MPFSEE), with other participants being Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Turkey;
* Slovenia joined 13 other nations in forming the brigade-sized
Standby High-Readiness Brigade(SHIRBRIG), headquartered in Copenhagen;
* From May to July 1997, Slovenia contributed to
Operation ALBAin Albania with a 25-person medical unit, which was well-received and commended by the Italian commander. Thereafter, it continued to support efforts to restore stability in Albania by participating in the WEU's Multinational Advisory Police Element(MAPE) helping to reconstitute and train Albanian police. The government has pledged to the Albanian Government its continuing support;
* Since November 1997, Slovenia has participated in its first
United Nationspeacekeeping operation, contributing 27 troops to an Austrian UNFICYP contingent on Cyprus. Slovenia also has peacekeepers with the UN at Naharya Ogl, Israel, on the Lebanese border.
NATO/ Partnership for Peace/EAPC goals=
* Slovenia's 10th battalion for international cooperation, established in 1996 as its primary "out-of-country" operation unit, will soon be upgraded to a NATO-interoperable rapid reaction peacekeeping force;
* In November 1998, Slovenia hosted its first major multinational exercise, "Cooperative Adventure Exchange," involving almost 6,000 troops from 19 NATO and PfP countries; otherwise it participates actively in PfP and EAPC;
* Slovenia is an active participant in Southeast European Defense Ministerial (SEDM) activities. It agreed to be lead country for several initiatives in 1999, including hosting an environmental security seminar.
Contributions to Bosnian stability
* Slovenia contributed to
IFOR(logistical support) and is very engaged in the SFOReffort, providing VIP support helicopter and light transport aircraft missions and use of an airbase in southern Slovenia;
* Slovenia has provided a platoon of military police (about 22) for the Italian-led
Multinational Specialized Unit(MSU) in Sarajevosince January 1999;
* Slovenia's latest initiative is its International Trust Fund for Demining and Humanitarian Assistance in
Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will finance up to $56 million in mine removal and victim rehabilitation services in the region. (The U.S. has contributed over $35 million in matching funds.)
Slovenia has a record of supporting the U.S. position on Kosovo, both in regular public statements by top officials and on the
Security Council. Prior and during the Kosovo Warof 1999, Slovenian top government officials called repeatedly for Slobodan Milošević's compliance with NATO demands. Slovenia granted NATO use of its airspace and offered further logistical support. It also has pledged personnel to support NATO humanitarian operations in the region. Slovenia helped Macedonia deal with the refugee crisis by providing 880 million sit (US$4.9 million) of humanitarian aid, in addition to granting a concession for imported agricultural products. The Slovene Government allocated 45 million SIT (US$250,000) to help Albania, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia, one-third of which went to the latter. Slovenia took in over 4,100 Kosovarrefugees during the crisis.
Relations with neighbors
Slovenia's bilateral relations with its neighbors are generally good and cooperative. However, a few unresolved disputes with Croatia remain. They are related mostly to the succession of the
former Yugoslavia, including demarcation of their common border. In addition, unlike the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia did not normalize relations with the " Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" ( Serbiaand Montenegro) until after the passing from power of Slobodan Milošević; although the Slovenes did open a representative office in Podgoricato work with Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović's government.
Succession issues, particularly concerning liabilities and assets of the former Yugoslavia, remain a key factor in Slovenia's relations in the region. On the whole, no conflicts mar relations with neighbors, which are on a sound footing. Numerous cooperative projects are either underway or envisioned, and bilateral and multilateral partnerships are deepening. Differences, many of which stem from Yugoslavia's time, have been handled responsibly and are being resolved.
The bilateral relations between
Italyand Slovenia have improved dramatically since 1994 and are now at a very good level. In the early 1990s, the issue regarding property restitution to the Istrian exiles was hindering the development of a good relationship between the two countries. By 1996, however, the issue had been set aside, with Italy renouncing any revision of the Treaty of Osimo, allowing a significant improvement in relations. Italy was a firm supporter of Slovene EU and NATOmembership, helping Slovenia technically and legislatively master its bid for membership in European and transatlantic institutions.
In 2001, the
Italian Parliamentfinally approved the legislation resolving the last open issues regarding the Slovenian minority in Italy. The legislation, welcomed by both the representatives of the Slovenian minority in Friuli Venezia Giuliaand the Slovenian government, started to be implemented in 2007, removing the last pending issue between the two countries. Since then, Italo-Slovene relations can be characterized as excellent.
Hungaryare excellent. Unlike with some of Hungary's other neighours, minority issues have not been a problem in Hungarian-Slovene relations. The Hungarian minority in Slovenia is granted a policy of positive discriminationunder the Slovene constitution, and the legal status of Hungarian Slovenesis good.
Within the Multilateral Cooperation Initiative between Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, cooperation exists in numerous fields, including military (Multinational Land Force peacekeeping brigade), transportation, combating money laundering and organized crime, non-proliferation, border crossings, and environmental issues.
Austriaand Slovenia are close. Austria was, next to Germanyand the Holy See, the most firm supporter of Slovenia's independence. It firmly endorsed Slovenia's path into the European Union. Economic cooperation between the two countries is very important and has been expanding since the early 1990s. Regional cooperation, especially with the states of Carinthia and Styria, is well developed: as a concrete manifestation of the excellent state of regional relations, Slovenia, Austria, and Italy entered a joint bid to organize the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Nevertheless, some disagreements over the legal settlement of the Slovenian minority in Austria remain. Austria disputes Slovenia's official position of being the successor-state of Yugoslavia as a co-signer of the
Austrian State Treaty; this however remains only a difference in opinions, since no legal action has been taken by any of the two governments. Austrian opposition to the nuclear power plant in Slovenia has also ceased to be an issue since Slovenia's entry to the European Union.
Relations between Slovenia and
Croatiahave been friendly, but burdened with constant disputes, including several unresolved minor border disputes, namely:
* the division of former Yugoslav territorial waters, particularly in the Bay of Piran;
* the hamlets of
Bužini, Mlini, Škodeliniand Škrilelocated to the south of river Dragonjain Istria, which were officially part of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia, but were "de facto" administered by the Socialist Republic of Croatiasince 1954;
Trdinov vrh/Sveta Gera peak in the Žumberak/Gorjanci, with the Slovenian Armyoccupying barracksthat lay partially Fact|date=April 2008Dubious|date=April 2008 in Croatian territory;
* the changing
meanders of the river Mura, near Hotizaand Sveti Martin na Muri, where the situation in nature differs from the descriptions in official maps and documents.
Other opened issues are the implementation of the joint management of the
Krško Nuclear Power Plant, the financial compensation for the Croatian depositors who lost their savings in the liquidation of the Slovenian-based Yugoslav bank Ljubljanska banka.
Tho most important disputed issue with Croatia is Slovenian and Italian opposition to the proclamation of the Croatian
Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone( Exclusive Economic Zone) in the Adriatic sea.
In a series of high-level meetings since the latter half of 1998, Slovenia and Croatia have been engaged in settling bilateral differences, a process which accelerated after the death of Croatian President
Franjo Tuđmanin 1999. Slovenia has supported Croatia's entry in the European Union, but has at times demanded that the opened bilateral questions be resolved before Croatia's accession to the Union.
Minor transit point for Southwest
Asian heroinbound for Western Europe, and for precursor chemicals.
Slovenian diplomatic missions
List of states that formally recognise the independent Republic of Slovenia
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