Government Public Relations and Media Office
Government Public Relations and Media Office

Slovenia - 10 Years of Independence
Path to Independence
Slovene Contribution to World Civilisation
The Celebration

Brief Statistics
Slovenia in the Eyes of the World
Ten Years of Foreign Policy


Slovenia reaches double figures

A history student's dream: a country with a nice round age of ten years, with one decade of past that can actually be fathomed out. And a nightmare for school geography lessons: how to pinpoint this tiny speck on the map without mistaking it for some other little country that emerged on the collapse of the Eastern Bloc? But in truth, the statistician will have the best of it: the ladder of success in postsocialist countries has a champion, one that cannot be ignored, for it stands out above the others in every field:


This state, born on 25 June 1991 when it gained independence from Yugoslavia, has brought together in its capital city of Ljubljana the elements of three different regions - the Alps, the Pannonian plains and the Mediterranean. It is marked by a 1382 kilometre-long border, and opens out to the seas right at the top end of the northernmost bay of the Mediterranean, next to Venice and Trieste. The clashes with the Yugoslav Army for independence were short and effective, and never flared up into the kind of tragedy that engulfed other parts of the former Yugoslavia. Slovenia counted on good fortune, reason and diplomacy - weapons honed in the five hundred year history of this nation of two million, which was never significantly bigger, even in the best of times. Another contributing factor may well be that it is squeezed between Italy, Hungary and Austria.

The roots of the Slovene nation lie in the European protestant movement, which gave rise to the appearance of the first Slovene book in 1551 and the first translation of the Bible into Slovene barely three decades later. Since then the language has preserved the Slovene entity in a continuously diminishing territory, with an explicit political boiling over twice in its history: after 1848 and during the strong anti-fascist resistance movement of the Second World War. The country's intellectuals did always gain their education in Vienna, but they also preserved a national consciousness, which gained strength primarily as a resistance to Germanisation. The desire for full statehood provided the impetus for the plebiscite just before the end of the second millennium, which made the final decision: the Slovenes would have their own state, an equal among European nations.

In these past ten years Slovenia dismantled the old economy and set up a new one. It has a national shipbuilding industry and its own airline, a stock exchange, its World Trade Center and other institutions. With 892,000 people in employment, it boasts a per capita GDP of US$ 9,150 and an inflation rate of 8.9 per cent. It introduced its own currency, the Slovene tolar, it has strong foreign exchange reserves, and a tax system that is increasingly in tune with that of Western Europe. The former socially-owned companies have been (almost) entirely privatised. Business activities are increasingly liberal, the exchange rate is favourable, the interest rate is high in real terms and fiscal policy envisages minimal budget deficits. Slovenia is rapidly becoming a transport hub, with the shortest route connecting France and Italy with Hungary (Milan-Ljubljana-Budapest), and the Balkans with Central Europe (Zagreb- Ljubljana-Munich).

In the political arena it has become established as a partner and adviser on the margin of the turbulent Balkans. From its acceptance into the United Nations up to its membership of the Security Council, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international institutions and also to becoming the most serious candidate country for membership of Nato and the European Union, it is mapping out the path of a recognised and established state in the modern world. It is an up-to-date, progressive democracy, while at the same time it has retained the unique image of a small nation that has not just survived millennia of foreign influence and rule, but has also entered into the new order as a winner.

But in truth, Slovenia should be experienced from close up. From the Alpine peaks to the Adriatic shores, from the Pannonian lowlands to the gentle hills of Dolenjska, this country draws visitors and inspires them. This peaceful coexistence of cultures - the softness of the plains, the hardness of the Alps and the leisurely Mediterranean - provides a cradle for modern multiculturalism, and sends an ancient message that there is nothing new in this world. Slovenia is a shortcut to a different world. And it has been working for ten years to make the best possible difference.