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Country Profile : Slovenia

Country profile: Slovenia

Map of Slovenia

 

Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe, but contains within its borders Alpine mountains, thick forests, historic cities and a short Adriatic coastline, It initially enjoyed substantial economic and political stability after gaining independence from Yugoslavia.

Slovenia was the first former Yugoslav republic to join the European Union, in May 2004 - a few months after joining Nato.

Unlike Croatia or Bosnia-Hercegovina, Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia was almost bloodless.

The move was undoubtedly aided by Western European recognition of the Slovenes' aspirations and the low proportion of other ethnic groups in the country.

Ljubljana's main square
Ljubljana castle overlooks the capital's old town

Slovenia had always been the most prosperous region of the former Yugoslavia and found the transition from a state economy to the free market easier than most.

On 1 January 2007, it became the first of the new EU member states to join the eurozone. A year later, it became the first former communist state to take on the EU presidency.

Politically, Slovenia was the most liberal republic within Yugoslavia. Throughout the 1980s there was pressure from Slovenia for greater political freedom and pluralism in the federation.

This reputation was tarnished after independence when thousands of nationals of other former Yugoslav republics were removed from population records and lost residency rights.

Parliament later passed a bill restoring their citizenship but a referendum held shortly before EU entry in 2004 overturned it by an overwhelming margin. Human rights groups expressed dismay at the move which embarrassed the leadership as it prepared to celebrate EU membership.

Slovenia's relations with Croatia have long been strained on account of a rumbling dispute over sea and land borders dating back to the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Slovenia dropped its opposition to Croatia's joining NATO in March 2009, but continued to block its neighbour's EU membership bid for a further eight months - only agreeing to lift the veto after a deal on the Piran border dispute in November 2009.

 

 

  • Full name: Republic of Slovenia
  • Population: 2 million (UN, 2011)
  • Capital: Ljubljana
  • Area: 20,273 sq km (7,827 sq miles)
  • Major language: Slovene
  • Major religion: Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 76 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)
  • Monetary unit: Euro
  • Main exports: Machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, household goods
  • GNI per capita: US $23,860 (World Bank, 2010)
  • Internet domain: .si
  • International dialling code: +386

 

 

President: Danilo Turk

 

Danilo Turk in Davos, January 2010
Mr Turk was a diplomat and academic before running for the presidency

Leftist former diplomat Danilo Turk won the presidential runoff elections in November 2007, ahead of government-backed conservative and former prime minister Lojze Peterle.

Mr Turk has spent most of his career abroad. He was Slovenia's ambassador to the United Nations from 1992, when the country gained international recognition, until 2000, when he became an assistant to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He returned to Slovenia in 2005.

The role of president is largely ceremonial, but carries authority in defence and foreign affairs.

Prime minister: Janez Jansa

Parliament approved Janez Jansa's centre-right coalition government in February 2012, despite the prime minister having been the runner-up in early elections in December 2011.

 

Janez Jansa
Mr Jansa says his priority is to reduce Slovenia's economic difficulties

Five mostly centre-right parliamentary parties, led by Mr Jansa's Slovenian Democratic Party, proposed Mr Jansa after rejecting Zoran Jankovic, Ljubljana's centre-left mayor and the surprise winner of the poll, as prime minister.

Mr Jansa says his main objective is to steer Slovenia out of its economic difficulties. He has mooted austerity measures that could lead to spending cuts of up to 10%.

Janez Jansa has led his party since 1993. He was prime minister for the first time from 2004-2008, and took Slovenia into the eurozone.

A defence studies graduate, Mr Jansa was a key figure in securing the independence of Slovenia. He was defence minister at the time. He is married and has three children.

Mr Jansa was put on trial in September 2011 on corruption charges over a 2006 defence deal. He denies the charges.

The government of the centre-left former prime minister, Borut Pahor, lost a vote of confidence in September 2011 after a referendum rejected major pension reforms.

 

 

Slovenia's media scene is diverse and free, and the constitution supports freedom of expression. The main papers are privately-owned.

The broadcasting sector is a mix of public and private ownership. The TV market is mainly shared between public service RTV Slovenia and private stations Pop TV and Kanal A. There are scores of commercial and public radio stations.

Many households are connected to cable, satellite, or internet protocol TV (IPTV). There is an advanced digital terrestrial TV (DTT) network.

There were 1.3 million internet users by June 2010 (Internetworldstats).

The press
 

Television
 

  • RTV Slovenia - public broadcaster, operates two national TV channels and regional services
  • Pop TV - commercial
  • Kanal A - commercial
  • TV3 - commercial

Radio
 

  • RTV Slovenia - public broadcaster, operates national radio stations A1, Val 202 and Ars, regional services and a tourist station with news in English and German
  • Radio Hit - commercial
  • Radio City - commercial

News agency
 

Country Profile