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This page was archived on the 1st of May 2004.
The information concerning this ex candidate country has not been updated since that date.

Bullet Country profile
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 Slovenia in Figures

Population: 2 million - more than Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus and Estonia
Area 20,000 sq kilometres - nearly the same size as Wales or Israel; mountainous and heavily forested, with a coastline of 32 kilometres along the Adriatic Sea; the flag of Slovenia features the three-headed Mount Triglav (2864 metres), its highest mountain, believed by early Slavs to be the home of a three-headed deity who ruled the sky, the earth and the underworld.
Borders: Austria, Italy, Croatia, Hungary
Major towns: Ljubljana - the capital - has around 250,000 inhabitants. It was founded by the Romans as Emona, is rich in baroque architecture, and has a vibrant cultural life with numerous summer festivals, and a lively university with 20,000 students. Maribor has about 100,000 inhabitants; Koper, the country's large international port, was the capital of Istria under the Venetian Republic in the 15th and 16th centuries; and just down the coast, Piran is a gem of Venetian Gothic architecture with narrow streets and bustling nightlife.
Official language: Slovene, a southern Slav language that uses the Latin alphabet
Major religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic (70%)
Currency: tolar - SIT; Euro 1 = 229 SIT



Slovenia is a small country with a wide exposure to the outside world. It is known, among other things, for its recent Olympic medals in downhill skiing, rowing, shooting, kayaking and athletics. Slovenia's younger generation of winegrowers on the very borders with Italy have developed a seriously lucrative export business for their high-quality, high-tech and high-price white wines. It hosts one of Europe's leading early music festivals. Endowed with highly skilled human capital and strategically located between the east and west of Europe - the cross-roads of key east-west and north-south trans-European corridors - it is widely perceived as an important contributor to the stabilisation and cohesion of the Balkan region. And Slovenia was chosen by George W Bush and Vladimir Putin as the location for their first-ever meeting - at the home of former Yugoslav President Tito, Brdo Castle.

The only EU candidate country from the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia's two million population - and its picture-book capital of Ljubljana - owe their heritage to their uninterrupted links from the early Middle Ages with the Italian- and German-speaking part of the Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Always the most liberal of the republics in Yugoslavia, it has established a stable democracy and moved easily to a market economy. It is one of the most prosperous EU candidate countries, with a GDP per capita (in terms of Purchasing Power parities) higher than Greece's and close to Portugal's, and an unemployment rate lower than in Germany or France. Its main concern about its terms of EU accession is that its relative prosperity will mean it could pay in more than it gets out.


Slovenia's annual Early Music Festival features music ranging from medieval to Beethoven, all performed on authentic instruments. It has consistently attracted top international artists since it began in 1983, in the northern town of Radovljica. Artistic director Klemen Ramovš moved it to Brežice, in the hills of the Posavje region of southeastern Slovenia, in 1996. Many of the concerts take place in the acoustically outstanding Knight's Hall in the town's Renaissance castle. Other venues include the 15th century Mokrice Castle with its striking floor decorations, and the Kostanjevica monastery, which boasts one of the largest arcaded courtyards in central Europe.


Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in June 1991, and after defeating the Serb-dominated Yugoslav People's Army in a ten-day war, it quickly won international recognition. It had been the most liberal republic within the former Yugoslav federation, and always the most prosperous region, and it has made a smooth transition towards pluralist democracy and a market economy.

But the first independent Slovene state dates back much further: when the Romans had been driven out by Mongolian Avars, who had in turn been driven out by Slavs, it was in AD 623 that King Samo established a kingdom (tribal confederation) stretching from Lake Balaton (now in Hungary) to the Mediterranean, which had its centre in the present Czech Republic.

The territory fell under the Frankish Empire late in the 8th century, and in the 10th century it became the independent duchy of Carantania under Holy Roman Emperor Otto I. From this period onwards, until 1414, a special ceremony of the enthronement of princes, conducted in Slovene, took place.

From 1335 until 1918, Slovenes were governed by the Habsburgs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - except for a brief interlude from 1809 to 1814, during the Napoleonic Wars, when the region was reorganized by France as part of the Illyrian Provinces.

After World War I it was absorbed in the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929). Then in 1941, during World War II, Germany, Hungary, and Italy divided the territory among themselves. In spite of forced transfers of populations during the war, since 1945 most Slovenes have lived in the Slovenian republic, which in 1947 also acquired Slovenian-speaking districts on the Adriatic Sea (in Istria) from Italy.

Slovenia held the first multiparty elections in Yugoslavia since World War II in April 1990. The winning coalition called for independence, and nearly 90 percent of Slovenia's population voted for independence in a referendum in December 1990.


Head of State: President Janez Drnovšek (since December 2002)
Prime Minister: Anton Rop (since December 2002)
Foreign Minister: Dimitrij Rupel
Minister for European Integration: Janez Potocnik

Voters in Slovenia chose a new president late last year- the man who has been prime minister practically since the country won its independence, Janez Drnovšek.

The continuity in Slovenian politics is striking: Drnovšek became prime minister in 1992, and won a second term in 1996; he was in opposition for six-months in mid-2000, but again returned to the post after his coalition won October elections. He is an economist by profession and held senior office in the former Yugoslavia.

Drnovšek is only the second President of the country. Milan Kucan, the 62-year-old statesman who led the country to independence in 1991, had been President since then. He was widely popular, but under Slovenia's constitution was not eligible to seek a third term.

Finance minister Anton Rop took over as Prime Minister in December 2002. Both the Prime Minister and President belong to the Liberal Democrat party that has been the dominant force in the country's successive coalition governments.

Municipal elections were held at the same time as Presidential elections and largely reflected the results of the parliamentary elections held in 2002.

Other significant parties include the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, United List of Social Democrats, Slovenian People's Party, New Slovenia Christian People's Party, the Pensioner's Party, the Slovenian National Party, and the Youth Party.

The Head of State of Slovenia is the President - who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The President is elected for a five-year term on a popular vote. The Slovenian parliament consists of a 90-member State Assembly (re-elected every four years), which makes the republic's laws, and a 40-member State Council (re-elected every five years), which can only propose laws or request reconsideration of a vote in the assembly. The assembly elects the prime minister for a four-year term.

The number of seats of the various parties in the parliament is as follows:

Political parties in Slovenia

Liberal Democrats
"New Slovenia" Christian People's Party
Pensioners' Party
Representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities
Slovenian National Party
SLS Slovene People's Party
Social Democratic Party
United List of Social Democrats
Youth Party


Currency: 1 Tolar (SIT) = 100 stotin (1 € = 226 SIT)
GDP/capita: €16,990 (year 2002 PPS) - 70% of EU average
GDP growth: 3.2 % (annually in 2002)
Inflation: 7.5 % (2002)
Unemployment: 6.4 % (2002 ILO definition)
Current account balance: -/+1.8 % of GDP (2002)
Foreign debt: 42 % of GDP (January 2003)
Trade with EU: 59% of all exports (€6.5 billion, 2002)
68% of all imports (€7.9 billion, 2002)
Deficit: €1.4 billion (2002)

The Slovene economy has achieved solid growth -- averaging 4.3 percent over the past eight years- while avoiding the major macroeconomic imbalances that characterized most other transition economies in the region. GDP per capita has reached the level of €16.990 (year 2002 PPS) which represents about 70% the EU average. Slovenia is among the countries with the smallest public deficit which, despite having increased in 2000, stands at just 25.8% of GDP, caused for the first time by foreign rather than domestic debt. Unemployment has been declining and stood at 6.4% in 2002 (ILO definition). However, persistently high inflation is an issue that remains to be tackled (7.5 % in 2002).

Slovenia adopted a rather gradual approach to reforms, and they have been rather slow in some sectors. This is the case especially with the baking and the insurance sectors. However, legislation adopted in 2002 paves way for increasing competition in the insurance sector, and privatisation measures in the banking sector are also contributing to the same end.

Tourism is a major industry - with its attractions ranging from spas to the stalactites and stalagmites in the 20 kilometres of underground passages in the Postojna Caves, and from the Bled and Bohinj lakes in the shadows of the Alps to the four-centuries old stud farms at Lipica - where the famous Lipizzaner horses come from. Most visitors are from Italy, Germany, and Austria.

Industry constituted 38 percent of GDP in Slovenia in 2000 - the major industries produce electrical equipment, processed food, textiles, paper and paper products, chemicals, and wood products. Agriculture accounts for 3 percent of GDP, with dairy farming and livestock dominating this sector. Major crops include cereals such as corn and wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, and fruits (particularly grapes).

Coal is the most abundant natural resource in Slovenia; other resources include lead, zinc, mercury, uranium, and silver, as well as natural gas and petroleum.

A nuclear power station at Krško - on Slovenia's side of the border, but half-owned by Croatia - produces 39% of the electricity used in Slovenia. It benefits from advanced safety applications developed under the Euratom framework programme, and has not been the focus of any safety concerns.

After attracting relatively little foreign direct investment at a level of about 1% of GDP, Slovenia has recently been winning several large foreign investments and the overall level of FDI has increased to over 2% of GDP in year 2002.

Slovenia enjoys strong trade and cooperation links with Germany, Italy, France and Austria. Main exports include machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, footwear, furniture and other household goods.

Slovenia has a high level of trade integration with the EU. About 59% Slovenia exports go to the EU and 68% of imports come from the EU.


The EU officially recognised Slovenia as an independent state in January 1992 and a Co-operation Agreement entered into force in September 1993.

Since it was founded, Slovenia's politics have been focused on EU accession. It signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1996 covering trade issues, political dialogue and co-operation in a number of areas. An Interim Agreement implementing the trade provisions of the Europe Agreement entered into force in January 1997. The Europe Agreement entered into force in February 1999.

Slovenia applied for EU membership in June 1996. The Commission Opinion was issued in 1997 and Slovenia started negotiations in March 1998.

The EC has been providing Slovenia substantial assistance for reforms and for preparing for accession to the EU. From 2000 onwards, the Community has been providing a combined total of around € 65 million of Pre-accession assistance to Slovenia on an annual basis from the three Community instruments.

The PHARE programme that has been providing support to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 allocated to Slovenia € 191 million during the period 1992 to 1999, € 33.3 million in 2000, € 28.5 million in 2001 and € 41.9 million in 2002. In 2003, Slovenia will be entitled to € 41.9 million. 2000 funds were fully contracted by the end of December 2002. 2003 programming will be completed in April. The Financing Memorandum will be presented to the Phare management Committee in June 2003.

Slovenia received € 19.6 million from ISPA (Instrument for structural policies for pre-accession) in 2000 and € 16 million in 2001. The 2002 allocation amounts at € 17 million. About 60% of the support was provided to environmental projects and about 40% to transport projects. During the first year of its operation 100% of the ISPA allocation has been committed.

The Slovenian SAPARD programme (Special Accession Programme for Agricultural and Rural Development) was adopted by the Commission in October 2000. It foresees the improvement of the competitiveness of the agricultural sector and processing industry focusing on environmental protection and seeks to enhance the adaptation capabilities of rural areas. The average annual support will be about € 6.6 Million. Slovenia signed the Multi-annual Financing Agreement and the Annual Financing Agreement for 2000 in March 2001 and the Annual Financing Agreement for 2001 in March 2002. In November 2001, the Commission adopted the decision conferring management of the programme to Slovenia's SAPARD Agency.

In the negotiations Slovenia requested and was granted a very limited number of transitional periods - this proves that Slovenia is already well prepared for implementing the acquis. Negotiations with Slovenia were concluded in December 2002 in the Copenhagen Summit.

A referendum on EU accession was held on March 23, 2003, and 90% voted in favour of accession to the EU (the turnout was 60%). A referendum on membership in NATO was held at the same time, and 66% voted in favour.

The Commission issued its latest Regular Report on Slovenia's preparations for accession in October 2002. (link) In these reports, the Commission assess the state of preparations of each of the candidate countries and identify remaining short-comings and tasks to be completed before accession.

In year 2003 the Commission experts will carry out a series of assessments (called peer reviews) on Slovenia's accession preparations in specific areas. It is also regularly monitoring the implementation by Slovenia of the commitments undertaken in the accession negotiations. A Comprehensive Monitoring report will be issued in November 2003.

Overview of key documents related to enlargement

PDF format


Regular Report -  November 5, 2003 411kb 437kb 453kb All
Regular Report -  October 9, 2002 553kb 592kb 621kb All
Regular Report -  November 13, 2001 300kb 350kb 342kb All
Regular Report - November 8, 2000 440kb 486kb 480kb All
Progress Report - October 13, 1999 216kb  252kb  242kb  All
Progress Report - November 1998 144kb 155kb 172kb  All
Accession Partnership - November 13, 2001 pdf file


All countries

French  37kb
German  38kb
Accession Partnership - October 13, 1999 (revised February 2000) 

pdf file 53kb

All countries


pdf file 56kb


pdf file 59kb

Opinion on Slovenia's Application for Membership of the European Union - July 1997


pdf file 484kb
German pdf file 721kb
Greek NA 
English pdf file 686kb
Spanish pdf file 487kb
Finnish pdf file 479kb
French pdf file 738kb
Italian pdf file 489kb
Dutch pdf file 520kb
Swedish pdf file 460kb

Press releases / News section

Interesting links