Foreign relations of Slovenia
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politics and government of
Since Slovenia declared 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, Austria and 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 Hungary and Italy, Slovenia formed a Multinational Land Force (the so-called Trilateral Brigade) in April 1998 with regional peacekeeping ability. 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 Southeast European (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 ALBA in 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 Nations peacekeeping 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.
Meeting 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 SFOR effort, 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 Sarajevo since 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.)
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" (Serbia and Montenegro) until after the passing from power of Slobodan Milošević; although the Slovenes did open a representative office in Podgorica to 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.
Relations between Austria and Slovenia are close. Austria was, next to Germany and 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.
- the division of former Yugoslav territorial waters, particularly in the Bay of Piran;
- the hamlets of Bužini, Mlini, Škodelini and Škrile located to the south of river Dragonja in Istria, which were administered by Croatia from 1954, and which Slovenia claims as part of cadaster municipality Sečovlje;
- the Sveta Gera (Trdina Peak) in the Žumberak Mountains, with the Slovenian Army occupying barracks that according to the Croatian side lay partially in the Croatian territory ;
- the changing meanders of the river Mura, near Hotiza and 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, Ljubljana Bank.
Although, the 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 Tuđman in 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.
Relations with Hungary are 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 discrimination under the Slovene constitution, and the legal status of Hungarian Slovenes is 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.
The bilateral relations between Italy and 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 NATO membership, helping Slovenia technically and legislatively master its bid for membership in European and transatlantic institutions.
In 2001, the Italian Parliament finally 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 Giulia and 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. Although interestingly there do not appear to be any scheduled flights between the two countries and the train service, which used to be frequent, has been limited to one train a day in each direction (a night service from Budapest to Venice and back) until December 2011, when it was discontinued, thus leaving no railway connection between the two countries.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Bulgaria||See Bulgaria–Slovenia relations|
|Croatia||See Croatia–Slovenia relations
Before 1991, both countries were part of Yugoslavia. On June 26, 1991, a mutual recognitial agreement was signed by both countries. Diplomatic relations between both countries were established on February 6, 1992. Croatia has an embassy in Ljubljana and 2 honorary consulates in Maribor and Koper. Slovenia has an embassy in Zagreb and an honorary consulate in Split. Both countries shares 670 km of common border.
|Kosovo||See Kosovan–Slovenian relations
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 War of 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 Kosovar refugees during the crisis.
|Macedonia||See Macedonia–Slovenia relations
The two countries have very close political and economic relations. Once part of SFR Yugoslavia, the two republics declared independence in 1991 (Slovenia in June, Macedonia in September) and recognised each other's independence on 12 February 1992. Diplomatic relations between both countries were established on 17 March 1992. Slovenia supports Macedonia's sovereignty, territorial integrity, its Euro-integration and visa liberalisation. A significant number of Slovenian investments ended up in the Republic of Macedonia. In 2007, about 70 million euros were invested. In January 2009, the Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski announced, that he expects more Slovenian investments in infrastructure and energy projects. Over 70 Slovenian companies are present on the Macedonian market.
|Moldova||See Moldova–Slovenia relations
Moldova recognized the Republic of Slovenia at an unknown date. Diplomatic relations were established on October 27, 1993. Both countries are represented in each other through their embassies in Budapest (Hungary).
|Montenegro||2006-06-21||See Montenegro–Slovenia relations|
|Netherlands||1991-06-25||See Netherlands–Slovenia relations
|Romania||1992-08-28||See Romania–Slovenia relations|
|Russia||1992-05-25||See Russia–Slovenia relations|
|Serbia||2000-12-09||See Serbia–Slovenia relations
Rest of world
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Egypt||See Egypt–Slovenia relations|
|India||11 May 1992|
|Israel||1992-04-28||See Israel–Slovenia relations
|North Korea||See Foreign relations of North Korea|
|Mexico||1992-05-22||See Mexico–Slovenia relations|
|South Korea||1992-11-18|| See South Korea–Slovenia relations
|United States||1992-04-07||See United States–Slovenia relations|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to International relations of Slovenia.|
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