Slovenia – an independent and equal member of the international community
In May 1990, Slovenia formed its first democratically-elected government and appointed its first foreign minister. At that time, especially after the December plebiscite, foreign-policy activities focused on mobilising international support for Slovenia's legitimate aspirations to independence and sovereignty, which was by no means an easy task. This prompted the creation of a network of Slovenian representatives, advocates and friends, including journalists, scholars, business representatives and Slovenes living abroad. Slovenian diplomats, who at that time were serving in the federal diplomatic service, joined these efforts.
After the declaration of independence on 25 June 1991, Slovenian foreign policy had a clear task: to secure international recognition of the newly-formed state. The first recognition came from Croatia on 26 June. In the second half of that year, some of the former members of the Soviet Union, namely Lithuania, Georgia, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Belarus, followed this example. Iceland was the first Western European country to recognise sovereign Slovenia, namely on 19 December 1991. Six months later, this island state reaffirmed its friendship with Slovenia by sponsoring the UN General Assembly resolution on its admission to this global organisation. On that same date, Germany and Sweden announced their decision to recognise the newly-independent state, which took effect on 15 January 1992, with Slovenia being recognised by the whole of the then European Community and most European countries, as well as Canada and Australia. Two days before the European Community, Slovenia's sovereignty was recognised by the Vatican, followed by San Marino. In January, Slovenia was also recognised by most Latin American countries. Russia followed in February and the United States in April. In the meantime, in March, the newly-independent country joined the Conference on Security and Co operation in Europe, today's OSCE. By the end of spring of 1992, Slovenia had truly secured its place on the world map.
On 22 May 1992, Slovenian foreign policy and the diplomatic service completed their foremost task: Slovenia became the 176th member of the United Nations and a fully independent and equal member of the international community.
By the mid-1992, the strategic orientations of Slovenian foreign policy also crystallised, placing primary focus on the country's political, economic and cultural visibility around the world and the realisation of its national interests. Slovenia's key objective became membership of European and Euro Atlantic structures, the development of good bilateral relations, especially with neighbouring countries, as well as active and constructive engagement within international organisations. Furthermore, Slovenia had decided to redefine its role as regards the countries in South-Eastern Europe and committed to maintaining concern for Slovenes living in neighbouring countries and abroad.
Slovenian foreign policy invested considerable efforts in formalising and enhancing relations with its four neighbours, its closest partners, which are also home to Slovenian minorities. Slovenia settled most its outstanding issues with neighbouring countries through dialogue, referring the most complex ones to legal mechanisms. However, what matters most is that the country has developed positive partner relations with its neighbours and a sound basis for intensive economic, cultural and scientific cooperation.
Similarly, Slovenia has established positive bilateral relations with other European countries. Together, they work on identifying shared interests, which provide the foundation for enhanced cooperation. Slovenia has forged particularly strong partner ties with France and Germany, the driving forces behind today's Europe. It has also built various links with Central European countries. As a Mediterranean country, Slovenia shares certain specific interests with other European countries along the Mediterranean coast. more >
Foreign policy is marked by constant adaptation. As the international environment and its players change over time, it must respond to new circumstances and challenges. Slovenia aims at raising its profile as a firm supporter of efforts to prevent any form of conflict, a staunch promoter of respect for human rights and the rule of law, an unyielding opponent of terrorism, and a model of implementing sustainable development goals.
In attaining this objective, Slovenian foreign policy will draw on two strategic documents adopted in the summer of 2015: the Declaration on Foreign Policy of the Republic of Slovenia , passed by the National Assembly, and the Foreign Policy Strategy , approved by the Government. The Declaration defines and confirms the values, legal foundations and geopolitical situation which dictate topics and priorities in foreign relations and, in its second part, identifies areas of geographical focus and priority fields of activity. Along these lines, the Strategy further elaborates Slovenia's foreign policy objectives and provides the tools for their fulfilment.
Guaranteeing security, peace-oriented policy and prosperity will remain the main responsibility of Slovenia's foreign policy to the state, its citizens, and economic and other entities.
As regards the mission, fundamental values and objectives of the European Union, Slovenia will stay true to its role of a responsible Member State. It will foster excellent relations and the strengthening of all-round cooperation with neighbouring countries and regions, and, in particular, strive to resolve all outstanding issues with Croatia. Efforts will be made to raise relations with strategic partners and key allies to a new level. The Western Balkans will remain at the heart of Slovenia's foreign policy activities, along with enhanced relations with the Visegrad Group and closer transatlantic ties. The country will maintain regular dialogue and positive relations with the Russian Federation and other major economic partners in a globalised world.
By effectively interlinking the main foreign policy dimensions, Slovenia will make every effort to contribute to resolving political, security and social crises in various countries and regions posing a direct threat to international peace and security and representing the root cause of the severe refugee and migrant crisis of the past months.
The country will remain active in all the mechanisms safeguarding international peace and security – the UN, NATO and the OSCE, in international peace-keeping operations and missions, and disarmament mechanisms, with special emphasis on its involvement in the global fight against terrorism. Enhanced international standards for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and minority protection, and strengthened international law and international criminal justice also contribute to greater security. Consular protection of Slovenian nationals abroad will remain at the core of our activities.
In accordance with a peace-oriented policy, Slovenia will foster good neighbourly relations and friendly, meaningful ties with other countries. It will further pursue activities undertaken for the peaceful settlement of disputes and join international efforts to combat extremism and violent radicalism, also through enhanced intercultural dialogue. Its positions will continue to be underpinned by universal principles of democracy and the rule of law.
Foreign policy can contribute the country's prosperity by actively pursuing national priorities and interests of Slovenia as a Member State on the European stage. In addition, economic diplomacy will retain its pivotal role within its priorities.
Slovenia will remain involved in international development cooperation projects and contribute to the global implementation of all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social, and environmental.
In its 25 years, Slovenian foreign policy has passed several important milestones. As a safe, successful and respected country , Slovenia boasts a considerable capital, which must be nurtured and enhanced in the years to come.
A responsible member of the international community, Slovenia, recognising that, in an interdependent world, no country can remain self-centred and interested exclusively in its own rights, positions, and interests, seeks to assume its share of responsibility and honour its obligations. Ever true to its commitments, Slovenia has been doing this for the past 25 years and will continue to do so in the future.
Text: Ministry of Foreign Affairs