A central location at the crossroads of traditional European routes from north to south and from east to west has determined the character of the Slovenian people and forged the values that have enabled the Slovenian nation to survive and develop through centuries. Today these very values are reflected in the Slovenian programs for international cooperation, efforts for peace and good neighbourly relations, as well as in a general openness to new ideas and connections.
Fundamental Values and Goals
In implementing its foreign policy priorities, the Republic of Slovenia follows the basic values, interests and aims of the Slovenian people and the Slovenian state. Among the most important values, which determine Slovenia's position in the international community, the following should be stressed:
In light of these fundamental values and long-term interests, the aims of the foreign policy of Slovenia include in particular:
European Union and NATO
Slovenia carries out two-thirds of its trade with countries of the European Union. Its determination to become a full member of the European Union is therefore a logical consequence of this fact. Indeed, the high degree of integration of Slovenian economy in international trade requires openness to new ideas and technologies, and calls for their free flow. As a relatively small economy, Slovenia has to be flexible and capable of adapting rapidly to changing circumstances.
Slovenia is a member of so-called Luxembourg group of most advanced candidates for the EU membership. Slovenia expects to conclude negotiations with the EU in 2002, to become the full member in 2004 and to take part in the elections for the European Parliament in the same year. Slovenia intends to take an active role in the Convention dealing with the reform and future of the EU.
Slovenia is aware that only a stable and secure international environment ensures the establishment and promotion of friendly economic, cultural and political ties between nations. Slovenia therefore desires to contribute its share to the creation and maintenance of international peace and security. However, Slovenia can optimally use its potentials as a security provider only through its integration into NATO, which offers the adequate organisational infrastructure.
In this context, full membership of NATO remains the strategic goal of Slovenia. Since gaining independence in 1991, Slovenia has effectively and gradually established institutional relations with NATO with a view to becoming a full member of this most important European and Trans-Atlantic collective security organisation.
Based on Madrid and Washington NATO Summit declarations, Slovenia actively implements the Membership Action Plan and it is considered as a front-runner candidate. It expects to be invited in NATO at the Prague Summit later this year.
In becoming a member of the United Nations on 22 May 1992, the Slovenian nation fulfilled its historical aspiration to join the international community. Slovenia therefore attaches great importance to its role in the United Nations. For an overview of Slovenian activities in the United Nations please consult the Slovenian Activities in the UN section of this website.
Central European Position
Slovenia is determined to cooperate in all fields with neighbouring countries and with all the countries in the wider region of Central Europe. This entire area has a long tradition of regional ties, dating back to the time when regional cooperation initiatives helped to bridge not only the visible borders between countries, but also the invisible borders of the former ideological divide in Europe. There is no doubt that initiatives such as cooperation within the Alps-Adriatic Community and the wider ties among the countries of Central Europe helped to prepare the ground for the fall of the Berlin Wall and thus contributed to the process of creating a safer and friendlier Europe.
The priorities of Slovenian foreign policy include cooperation within the framework of the Central European Initiative (CEI), strengthening and expanding of the Central European Free Trade Area (CEFTA), and the development of special tripartite cooperation with Italy and Hungary. This cooperation reflects common strategic interests that extend from the protection of the environment and the establishment of modern communications, to issues of transportation and defence.
Slovenia continues to direct part of its foreign policy activities to regulating and improving the legal and material situation of the Slovenian minorities in neighbouring countries. From the time of their earliest settlement in the 6th century, the Slovenians have had to safeguard their cultural, political and economic existence against the more populous Germanic, Latin, Magyar and Slavic peoples. In these struggles, the outnumbered Slovenians lost nearly two-thirds of the territory they originally settled. Today, therefore, Slovenian minorities are found in Italy, Austria and Hungary.
The rights of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Austria are set forth in the State Treaty on the Restructuring of an Independent and Democratic Austria. The rights of the Slovenian minority in Italy and of Italians in Slovenia were set forth in a Special Status, included in the London Memorandum of Agreement (accepted in 1954), as well as in the Osimo Agreements (signed in 1974). Rights of Slovenians in Italy are stipulated also in the special protection law, adopted by Italian Parliament in 2001. The question of the Slovenian ethnic minority in Hungary was addressed in the 1992 agreement on ensuring the special rights of Slovenians in Hungary and of the Hungarian ethnic population in Slovenia.
Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the UN