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Republic of Slovenia
FLAG: Equal horizontal bands of white (top), blue, and red with seal superimposed on upper hoist side.
ANTHEM: Zive naj vsi narodi. (The national anthem begins, "Let all nations live …")
MONETARY UNIT: The currency of Slovenia is the tolar (Slt), which consists of 100 stotinov. There are coins of 50 stotinov and 1, 2, and 5 tolars, and notes of 10, 20, 50, and 200 tolars. Slt1 = $0.00534 (or $1 = Slt187.42) as of 2005.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is in force.
HOLIDAYS: New Year, 1–2 January; Prešeren Day, Day of Culture, 8 February; Resistance Day, 27 April; Labor Days, 1–2 May; National Statehood Day, 25 June; Assumption, 15 August; Reformation Day, 31 October; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Christmas Day, 25 December; Independence Day, 26 December. Movable holidays are Easter Sunday and Monday.
TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.
Slovenia is located in central Europe. Slovenia is slightly larger than the state of New Jersey with a total area of 20,273 sq km (7,827 sq mi). Slovenia shares boundaries with Austria on the n, Hungary on the e, Croatia on the s, and the Adriatic Sea and Italy on the w, and has a total land boundary of 1,334 km (829 mi) and a coastline of 46.6 km (29 mi). Slovenia's capital city, Ljubljana, is located near the center of the country.
The topography of Slovenia features a small coastal strip on the Adriatic, the Julian Alps adjacent to Italy, the Karawanken Mountains of the northern border with Austria, and mixed mountains and valleys with numerous rivers in the central and eastern regions. The highest point of Mt. Triglav is found in the Julian Alps with an elevation of 2,864 m (9,396 ft). The longest river is the Sava, which flows through the center of the country for 221 km (137 mi). A unique feature of Slovenia is the presence of over 6,500 karst formed caves, the most well-known being the Skocjan caves in the southwest, which are designated as a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Slovenia's coastal climate is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. Its interior climate ranges from mild to hot summers, with cold winters in the plateaus and valleys to the east. In Ljubljana, July's mean temperature is 20°c (68°f). The mean temperature in January is -1°c (30°f). Rainfall in the capital averages 139 cm (59 in) a year.
The region's climate has given Slovenia a wealth of diverse flora and fauna. Ferns, flowers, mosses, and common trees populate the landscape. There are subtropical plants along the Adriatic Sea. Wild animals include deer, brown bear, rabbit, fox, and wild boar. Farmers plant vineyards on the hillsides and raise livestock in the fertile lowlands of the country. As of 2002, there were at least 75 species of mammals, 201 species of birds, and over 3,200 species of plants throughout the country.
Slovenia's natural environment suffers from damage to forests by industrial pollutants, especially chemical and metallurgical plant emissions and the resulting acid rain. Water pollution is also a problem. The Sava River is polluted with domestic and industrial waste; heavy metals and toxic chemicals can be found in the coastal waters. The country is subject to flooding and earthquakes.
As of 2003, 6% of Slovenia's total land area was protected. One of the largest protected areas is Triglav National Park. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 7 types of mammals, 7 species of birds, 2 species of amphibians, 16 species of fish, and 42 species of invertebrates. Threatened species include the Italian agile frog, slender-billed curlew, beluga, Danube salmon, the garden dormouse, and the great snipe.
The population of Slovenia in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 1,998,000, which placed it at number 141 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 15% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 14% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 95 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005–10 was expected to be -0.1%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The fertility rate, at 1.4 births per woman, has been below replacement levels since the mid-1990s. The projected population for the year 2025 was 2,014,000. The population density was 99 per sq km (256 per sq mi).
The UN estimated that 51% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 0.03%. The capital city, Ljubljana, had a population of 256,000 in that year. Maribor had a population of 110,668.
In 1995, Slovenia was harboring 29,000 refugees from the former Yugoslav SFR. Of the 5,000–10,000 that remained in 1999, most had opted not to take Slovene citizenship during a six-month window of opportunity in 1991–92 and had been living in the country as stateless persons ever since. In 1999, parliament passed legislation that offered these persons permanent resident status; a six-week window for applications closed at the end of the year. The number of migrants living in Slovenia in 2000 was 51,000. By the end of 2004, there were 304 refugees in Slovenia and 323 asylum seekers. In addition, there were 584 citizens of the former Yugoslavia who remained of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The net migration rate in 2005 was an estimated 1 migrant per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.
According to the 2002 census, the total population is about 83.1% Slovene. Minority groups include Serbs (2%), Croats (1.8%), and Bosniaks (1.1%). There are about 10,467 Muslims, 6,243 Hungarians, 6,186 Albanians, 3,246 Roma and 2,254 Italians.
Like Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian, Slovene is a language of the southern Slavic group. It is closest to Serbo-Croatian, but the two are not mutually intelligible. Slovene is written in the Roman alphabet and has the special letters č, š, and ž. The letters q, w, x, and y are missing. As of 2002, 91% of the populace spoke Slovene; 6% spoke Serbo-Croatian; and 3% used various other languages.
According to the 2002 census, the largest denominational group in the country was the Roman Catholic Church, representing about 57.8% of the population. There is also a Slovenian Old Catholic Church and some Eastern Orthodox that made up about 2% of the population. Although Calvinism played an important role during the Reformation, the only well-established Protestant group is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Slovenia, which has about 14,736 members. Muslims make up about 2.4% of the population. The census reported only 99 Jews. About 199,264 people responded as atheists. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the constitution. Religious organizations register with the Office of Religious Communities in order to secure legal status and conduct business.
Rail lines, emanating from Ljubljana, connect the capital to Kranj and Jesenice, Postojna and Novo Gorica, Celje and Maribor, and Nova Mesto before continuing to Austria, Italy, and Croatia. As of 2004, there were some 1,201 km (747 mi) of railway, all of it standard gauge. Of that total, 499 km (310 mi) are electrified. With over 150 passenger stations and 140 freight stations, almost every town in Slovenia can be reached by train. Slovenian Railways uses high-speed trains and container transports.
In 2002, Slovenia had 20,250 km (12,596 mi) of roads, all of which were paved, and included 456 km (284 mi) of expressways. Slovenia has two expressways: one connecting Ljubljana, Postojna, and Razdrto with the coastal region; the other linking Ljubljana with Kranj and the Gorenjska region in the northwest and with the Karawanken tunnel to Austria. In 2003, there were 889,600 passenger cars and 69,300 commercial vehicles registered for use.
The principal marine port is Koper. Technically there is no merchant fleet, but Slovenian owners have registered their respective vessels in 23 countries as of 2005.
Slovenia had an estimated 14 airports in 2004, 6 of which had paved runways as of 2005. In 2003, about 758,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.
Origins and Middle Ages
Slovenia is located in the central European area where Latin, Germanic, Slavic, and Magyar people have come into contact with one another. The historical dynamics of these four groups have impacted the development of this small nation.
Until the 8th–9th centuries ad, Slavs used the same common Slavic language that was codified by St. Cyril and Methodius in their ad 863 translations of Holy Scriptures into the Slavic tongue. Essentially an agricultural people, the Slovenes settled from around ad 550 in the eastern Alps and in the western Pannonian Plains. The ancestors of today's Slovenes developed their own form of political organization in which power was delegated to their rulers through an "electors" group of peasant leaders/soldiers (the "Kosezi"). Allies of the Bavarians against the Avars, whom they defeated in ad 743, the Carantania Slovenes came under control of the numerically stronger Bavarians and both were overtaken by the Franks in ad 745.
In 863, the Greek scholars Constantine (Cyril) and Methodius were sent to Moravia, having first developed an original alphabet (called "Glagolitic") and translated the necessary Holy Scriptures into the Slavic tongue of the time. The work of the two "Apostles of the Slavs" was opposed by the Frankish Bishops who accused them of teaching heresy and using a nonsacred language and script. Invited by Pope Nicholas I to Rome to explain their work, the brothers visited with the Slovene Prince Kocelj in 867 and took along some 50 young men to be instructed in the Slavic scriptures and liturgy that were competing with the traditionally "sacred" liturgical languages of Latin and Greek. Political events prevented the utilization of the Slavic language in Central European Churches with the exception of Croatia and Bosnia. However, the liturgy in Slavic spread among Balkan and Eastern Slavs.
Slovenes view the installation of the Dukes of Carinthia with great pride as the expression of a nonfeudal, bottom-up delegation of authority—by the people's "electors" through a ceremony inspired by old Slavic egalitarian customs. All the people assembled would intone a Slovene hymn of praise—"Glory and praise to God Almighty, who created heaven and earth, for giving us and our land the Duke and master according to our will."
This ceremony lasted for 700 years with some feudal accretions and was conducted in the Slovenian language until the last one in 1414. The uniqueness of the Carinthian installation ceremony is confirmed by several sources, including medieval reports, the writing of Pope Pius II in 1509, and its recounting in Jean Bodin's Treatise on Republican Government (1576) as "unrivaled in the entire world." In fact, Thomas Jefferson's copy of Bodin's Republic contains Jefferson's own initials calling attention to the description of the Carinthian installation and, therefore, to its conceptual impact on the writer of the American Declaration of Independence.
The eastward expansion of the Franks in the 9th century brought all Slovene lands under Frankish control. Carantania then lost its autonomy and, following the 955 victory of the Franks over the Hungarians, the Slovene lands were organized into separate frontier regions. This facilitated their colonization by German elements while inhibiting any effort at unifying the shrinking Slovene territories. Under the feudal system, various families of mostly Germanic nobility were granted fiefdoms over Slovene lands and competed among themselves bent on increasing their holdings.
The Bohemian King Premysl Otokar II was an exception and attempted to unite the Czech, Slovak, and Slovene lands in the second half of the 13th century. Otokar II acquired the Duchy of Austria in 1251, Styria in 1260, and Carinthia, Carniola, and Istria in 1269, thus laying the foundation for the future Austrian empire. However, Otokar II was defeated in 1278 by a Hapsburg-led coalition that conquered Styria and Austria by 1282. The Hapsburgs, of Swiss origin, grew steadily in power and by the 15th century became the leading Austrian feudal family in control of most Slovene lands.
Christianization and the feudal system supported the Germanization process and created a society divided into "haves" (German) and "have nots" (Slovene), which were further separated into the nobility/urban dwellers versus the Slovene peasants/serfs. The Slovenes were deprived of their original, egalitarian "Freemen" rights and subjected to harsh oppression of economic, social, and political nature. The increasing demands imposed on the serfs due to the feudal lords' commitment in support of the fighting against the Turks and the suffering caused by Turkish invasions led to a series of insurrections by Slovene and Croat peasants in the 15th to 18th centuries, cruelly repressed by the feudal system.
The Reformation gave an impetus to the national identity process through the efforts of Protestant Slovenes to provide printed materials in the Slovenian language in support of the Reformation movement itself. Martin Luther's translation of the New Testament into German in 1521 encouraged translations into other vernaculars, including the Slovenian. Thus Primož Trubar, a Slovenian Protestant preacher and scholar, published the first Catechism in Slovenian in 1551 and, among other works, a smaller elementary grammar (Abecedarium ) of the Slovenian language in 1552. These works were followed by the complete Slovenian translation of the Bible by Jurij Dalmatin in 1578, printed in 1584. The same year Adam Bohorič published, in Latin, the first comprehensive grammar of the Slovenian language which was also the first published grammar of any Slavic language. The first Slovenian publishing house (1575) and a Jesuit College (1595) were established in Ljubljana, the central Slovenian city, and between 1550 and 1600 over 50 books in Slovenian were published. In addition, Primož Trubar and his co-workers encouraged the opening of Slovenian elementary and high schools. This sudden explosion of literary activity built the foundation for the further development of literature in Slovenian and its use by the educated classes of Slovenes. The Catholic Counter-Reformation reacted to the spread of Protestantism very strongly within Catholic Austria, and slowed down the entire process until the Napoleonic period. Despite these efforts, important cultural institutions were established, such as an Academy of Arts and Sciences (1673) and the Philharmonic Society in 1701 (perhaps the oldest in Europe).
The Jesuits, heavily involved in the Counter-Reformation, had to use religious literature and songs in the Slovene language, but generally Latin was used as the main language in Jesuit schools. However, the first Catholic books in Slovenian were issued in 1615 to assist priests in the reading of Gospel passages and delivery of sermons. The Protestant books in Slovenian were used for such purposes, and they thus assisted in the further development of a standard literary Slovenian. Since Primož Trubar used his dialect from the Carniola region, it heavily influenced the literary standard. From the late 17th and through the 18th century the Slovenes continued their divided existence under Austrian control.
Standing over trade routes connecting the German/Austrian hinterland to the Adriatic Sea and the Italian plains eastward into the Balkan region, the Slovenes partook of the benefits from such trade in terms of both economic and cultural enrichment. Thus by the end of the 18th century, a significant change occurred in the urban centers where an educated Slovene middle class came into existence. Deeply rooted in the Slovene peasantry, this element ceased to assimilate into the Germanized mainstream and began to assert its own cultural/national identity. Many of their sons were educated in German, French, and Italian universities and thus exposed to the influence of the Enlightenment. Such a person was, for instance, Baron Ziga Zois (1749–1819), an industrialist, landowner, and linguist who became the patron of the Slovene literary movement. When the ideas of the French Revolution spread through Europe and the Napoleonic conquest reached the Slovenes, they were ready to embrace them.
During the reign of Maria Teresa (1740–80) and Joseph II (1780–90), the influence of Jansenism—the emancipation of serfs, the introduction of public schools (in German), equality of religions, closing of monasteries not involved in education or tending to the sick—weakened the hold of the nobility. On the other hand, the stronger Germanization emphasis generated resistance to it from an awakening Slovene national consciousness and the publication of Slovene nonreligious works, such as Marko Pohlin's Abecedika (1765), a Carniolan Grammar (1783) with explanations in German, and other educational works in Slovenian, which include a Slovenian-German-Latin dictionary (1781). Pohlin's theory of metrics and poetics became the foundation of secular poetry in Slovenian, which reached its zenith only 50 years later with France Prešeren (1800–49), still considered the greatest Slovene poet. Just prior to the short Napoleonic occupation of Slovenia, the first Slovenian newspaper was published in 1797 by Valentin Vodnik (1758–1819), a very popular poet and grammarian. The first drama in Slovenian appeared in 1789 by Anton Tomaž Linhart (1756–95), playwright and historian of Slovenes and South Slavs. Both authors were members of Baron Zois' circle.
Napoleon and the Spring of Nations
When Napoleon defeated Austria and established his Illyrian Provinces (1809–13), comprising the southern half of the Slovenian lands, parts of Croatia, and Dalmatia all the way to Dubrovnik with Ljubljana as the capital, the Slovene language was encouraged in the schools and also used, along with French, as an official language in order to communicate with the Slovene population. The four-year French occupation served to reinforce the national awakening of the Slovenes and other nations that had been submerged through the long feudal era of the Austrian Empire. Austria, however, regained the Illyrian Provinces in 1813 and reestablished its direct control over the Slovene lands.
The 1848 "spring of nations" brought about various demands for national freedom of Slovenes and other Slavic nations of Austria. An important role was played by Jernej Kopitar with his influence as librarian/censor in the Imperial Library in Vienna, as the developer of Slavic studies in Austria, as the mentor to Vuk Karadžić (one of the founders of the contemporary Serbo-Croatian language standard), as the advocate of Austro-Slavism (a state for all Slavs of Austria), and as author of the first modern Slovenian grammar in 1808. In mid-May 1848, the "United Slovenia" manifesto demanded that the Austrian Emperor establish a Kingdom of Slovenia with its own parliament, consisting of the then-separate historical regions of Carniola, Carinthia, Styria, and the Littoral, with Slovenian as its official language. This kingdom would remain a part of Austria, but not of the German Empire. While other nations based their demands on the "historical statehood" principle, the Slovenian demands were based on the principle of national self-determination some 70 years before American President Woodrow Wilson would embrace the principle in his "Fourteen Points."
Matija Kavčič, one of 14 Slovenian deputies elected to the 1848–49 Austrian parliament, proposed a plan of turning the Austrian Empire into a federation of 14 national states that would completely do away with the system of historic regions based on the old feudal system. At the 1848 Slavic Congress in Prague, the Slovenian delegates also demanded the establishment of the Slovenian University in Ljubljana. A map of a United Slovenia was designed by Peter Kozler based on then available ethnic data. It was confiscated by Austrian authorities, and Kozler was accused of treason in 1852 but was later released for insufficient evidence. The revolts of 1848 were repressed after a few years, and absolutistic regimes kept control on any movements in support of national rights. However, recognition was given to equal rights of the Slovenian language in principle, while denied in practice by the German/Hungarian element that considered Slovenian the language of servants and peasants. Even the "minimalist" Maribor program of 1865 (a common assembly of deputies from the historical provinces to discuss mutual problems) was fiercely opposed by most Austrians that supported the Pan-German plan of a unified German nation from the Baltic to the Adriatic seas. The Slovenian nation was blocking the Pan-German plan simply by being located between the Adriatic Sea (Trieste) and the German/Austrian Alpine areas; therefore, any concessions had to be refused in order to speed up its total assimilation. Hitler's World War II plan to "cleanse" the Slovenians was an accelerated approach to the same end by use of extreme violence.
In 1867, the German and Hungarian majorities agreed to the reorganization of the state into a "Dualistic" Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in order to be better able to control the minority elements in each half of the empire. The same year, in view of such intransigence, the Slovenes reverted back to their "maximalist" demand of a "United Slovenia" (1867 Ljubljana Manifesto) and initiated a series of mass political meetings, called "Tabori," after the Czech model. Their motto became "Umreti nočemo!" ("We refuse to die!"), and a movement was initiated to bring about a cultural/political coalition of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs of Austro-Hungary in order to more successfully defend themselves from the increasing efforts of Germanization/Magyarization. At the same time, Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs followed with great interest several movements of national liberation and unification, such as those in Italy, Germany, Greece, and Serbia, and drew from them much inspiration. While Austria lost its northern Italian provinces to the Italian "Risorgimento," it gained, on the other hand, Bosnia and Herzegovina through occupation (1878) and annexation (1908). These actions increased the interest of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs of Austro-Hungary in a "Trialistic" arrangement that would allow the South Slavic groups ("Yugoslavs") to form their own joint (and "Third") unit within Austro-Hungary. A federalist solution, they believed, would make possible the survival of a country to which they had been loyal subjects for many centuries. Crown Prince Ferdinand supported this approach, called "The United States of greater Austria" by his advisers, also because it would remove the attraction of a Greater Serbia. But the German leadership's sense of its own superiority and consequent expansionist goals prevented any compromise and led to two world wars.
World War I and Royal Yugoslavia
Unable to achieve their maximalist goals, the Slovenes concentrated their effort at the micro-level and made tremendous strides prior to World War I in introducing education in Slovenian, organizing literary and reading rooms in every town, participating in economic development, upgrading their agriculture, organizing cultural societies and political parties, such as the Catholic People's Party in 1892 and the Liberal Party in 1894, and participating in the Socialist movement of the 1890s. World War I brought about the dissolution of centuries-old ties between the Slovenes and the Austrian Monarchy and the Croats/Serbs with the Hungarian Crown. Toward the end of the war, on 12 August 1918, the National Council for Slovenian Lands was formed in Ljubljana. On 12 October 1918, the National Council for all Slavs of former Austro-Hungary was founded in Zagreb, Croatia, and was chaired by Msgr. Anton Korošeć, head of the Slovenian People's Party. This Council proclaimed on 29 October 1918 the separation of the South Slavs from Austro-Hungary and the formation of a new state of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs.
A National Government for Slovenia was established in Ljubljana. The Zagreb Council intended to negotiate a Federal Union with the Kingdom of Serbia that would preserve the respective national autonomies of the Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs. Msgr. Korošeć had negotiated a similar agreement in Geneva with Nikola Pašić, his Serbian counterpart, but a new Serbian government reneged on it. There was no time for further negotiations due to the Italian occupation of much Slovenian and Croatian territory and only Serbia, a victor state, could resist Italy. Thus, a delegation of the Zagreb Council submitted to Serbia a declaration expressing the will to unite with The Kingdom of Serbia. At that time, there were no conditions presented or demand made regarding the type of union, and Serbia immediately accepted the proposed unification under its strongly centralized government; a unitary "Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes" was declared on 1 December 1918. Because of the absence of an initial compromise between the Unitarists and Federalists, what became Yugoslavia never gained a solid consensual foundation. Serbs were winners and viewed their expansion as liberation of their Slavic brethren from Austria-Hungary, as compensation for their tremendous war sacrifices, and as the realization of their "Greater Serbia" goal. Slovenes and Croats, while freed from the Austro-Hungarian domination, were nevertheless the losers in terms of their desired political/cultural autonomy. In addition, they suffered painful territorial losses to Italy (some 700,000 Slovenes and Croats were denied any national rights by Fascist Italy and subjected to all kinds of persecutions) and to Austria (a similar fate for some 100,000 Slovenes left within Austria in the Carinthia region).
After 10 years of a contentious parliamentary system that ended in the murder of Croatian deputies and their leader Stjepan Radić, King Alexander abrogated the 1921 constitution, dissolved the parliament and political parties, took over power directly, and renamed the country "Yugoslavia." He abolished the 33 administrative departments that had replaced the historic political/national regions in favor of administrative areas named mostly after rivers. A new policy was initiated with the goal of creating a single "Yugoslav" nation out of the three "Tribes" of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. But in practice this policy meant the King's Serbian hegemony over the rest of the nations. The reaction was intense, and King Alexander himself fell victim of Croat-Ustaša and Macedonian terrorists and died in Marseille in 1934. A regency ruled Yugoslavia, headed by Alexander's cousin, Prince Paul, who managed to reach an agreement in 1939 with the Croats. An autonomous Croatian "Banovina" headed by "Ban" Ivan Subašić was established, including most Croatian lands outside of the Bosnia and Herzegovina area. Strong opposition developed among Serbs because they viewed the Croatian Banovina as a privilege for Croats while Serbs were split among six old administrative units with a large Serbian population left inside the Croatian Banovina itself. Still, there might have been a chance for further similar agreements that would have satisfied the Serbs and Slovenes. But there was no time left—Hitler and his allies (Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria) attacked Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941, after a coup on 27 March 1941 had deposed Prince Paul's government, which had yielded to Hitler's pressures on 25 March. Thus the first Yugoslavia, born out of the distress of World War I, had not had time to consolidate and work out its problems in a mere 23 years and was then dismembered by its aggressors. Still, the first Yugoslavia allowed the Slovenes a chance for fuller development of their cultural, economic, and political life, in greater freedom and relative independence for the first time in modern times.
World War II
Slovenia was divided in 1941 among Germany, Italy, and Hungary. Germany annexed northern Slovenia, mobilized its men into the German army, interned, expelled, or killed most of the Slovenian leaders, and removed to labor camps the populations of entire areas, repopulating them with Germans. Italy annexed southern Slovenia but did not mobilize its men. In both areas, particularly the Italian, resistance movements were initiated by both nationalist groups and by Communist-dominated Partisans, the latter particularly after Hitler's attack on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941. The Partisans claimed monopoly of the resistance leadership and dealt cruelly with anyone that dared to oppose their intended power grab. Spontaneous resistance to the Partisans by the non-Communist Slovenian peasantry led to a bloody civil war in Slovenia under foreign occupiers, who encouraged the bloodshed. The resistance movement led by General Draža Mihajlović, appointed minister of war of the Yugoslav government-in-exile, was handicapped by the exile government's lack of unity and clear purpose (mostly due to the fact that the Serbian side had reneged on the 1939 agreement on Croatia). On the other hand, Winston Churchill, convinced by rather one-sided reports that Mihajlović was "collaborating" with the Germans while the Partisans under Marshal Tito were the ones "who killed more Germans," decided to recognize Tito as the only legitimate Yugoslav resistance. Though aware of Tito's communist allegiance to Stalin, Churchill threw his support to Tito, and forced the Yugoslav government-in-exile into a coalition government with Tito, who had no intention of keeping the agreement and, in fact, would have fought against an Allied landing in Yugoslavia along with the Germans.
When Soviet armies, accompanied by Tito, entered Yugoslavia from Romania and Bulgaria in the fall of 1944, military units and civilians that had opposed the Partisans retreated to Austria or Italy. Among them were the Cetnik units of Draža Mihajlović and "homeguards" from Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia that had been under German control but were pro-Allies in their convictions and hopes. Also in retreat were the units of the Croatian Ustaša that had collaborated with Italy and Germany in order to achieve (and control) an "independent" greater Croatia and, in the process, had committed terrible and large-scale massacres of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and others who opposed them. Serbs and Partisans counteracted, and a fratricidal civil war raged over Yugoslavia. After the end of the war, the Communist-led forces took control of Slovenia and Yugoslavia and instituted a violent dictatorship that committed systematic crimes and human rights violations on an unexpectedly large scale. Thousands upon thousands of their former opponents that were returned, unaware, from Austria by British military authorities were tortured and massacred by Partisan executioners.
Such was the background for the formation of the second Yugoslavia as a Federative People's Republic of five nations (Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins) with their individual republics and Bosnia and Herzegovina as a buffer area with its mix of Serb, Muslim, and Croat populations. The problem of large Hungarian and Muslim Albanian populations in Serbia was solved by creating for them the autonomous region of Vojvodina (Hungarian minority) and Kosovo (Muslim Albanian majority) that assured their political and cultural development. Tito attempted a balancing act to satisfy most of the nationality issues that were carried over unresolved from the first Yugoslavia, but failed to satisfy anyone.
Compared to pre-1941 Yugoslavia where Serbs enjoyed a controlling role, the numerically stronger Serbs had lost both the Macedonian area they considered "Southern Serbia" and the opportunity to incorporate Montenegro into Serbia, as well as losing direct control over the Hungarian minority in Vojvodina and the Muslim Albanians of Kosovo, viewed as the cradle of the Serbian nation since the Middle Ages. They further were not able to incorporate into Serbia the large Serbian populated areas of Bosnia and had not obtained an autonomous region for the large minority of Serbian population within the Croatian Republic. The Croats, while gaining back the Medjumurje area from Hungary, and from Italy, the cities of Rijeka (Fiume), Zadar (Zara), some Dalmatian islands, and the Istrian Peninsula had, on the other hand, lost other areas. These included the Srem area to Serbia, and also Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been part of the World War II "independent" Croatian state under the Ustaša leadership.
In addition, the Croats were confronted with a deeply resentful Serbian minority that became ever more pervasive in public administrative and security positions. The Slovenes had regained the Prekmurje enclave from Hungary and most of the Slovenian lands that had been taken over by Italy following World War I (Julian region and Northern Istria), except for the "Venetian Slovenia" area, the Gorizia area, and the port city of Trieste. The latter was initially part of the UN protected "Free Territory of Trieste," split in 1954 between Italy and Yugoslavia with Trieste itself given to Italy. Nor were the Slovenian claims to the southern Carinthia area of Austria satisfied. The loss of Trieste was a bitter pill for the Slovenes and many blamed it on the fact that Tito's Yugoslavia was, initially, Stalin's advance threat to Western Europe, thus making the Allies more supportive of Italy.
The official position of the Marxist Yugoslav regime was that national rivalries and conflicting interests would gradually diminish through their sublimation into a new Socialist order. Without capitalism, nationalism was supposed to wither away. Therefore, in the name of their "unity and brotherhood" motto, any nationalistic expression of concern was prohibited and repressed by the dictatorial and centralized regime of the "League of Yugoslav Communists" acting through the "Socialist Alliance" as its mass front organization.
After a short postwar "coalition" government period, the elections of 11 November 1945, boycotted by the non-communist "coalition" parties, gave the Communist-led People's Front 90% of the vote. A Constituent Assembly met on 29 November, abolishing the monarchy and establishing the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia. In January 1946 a new constitution was adopted, based on the 1936 Soviet constitution. The Stalin-engineered expulsion of Yugoslavia from the Soviet-dominated Cominform Group in 1948 was actually a blessing for Yugoslavia after its leadership was able to survive Stalin's pressures. Survival had to be justified, both practically and in theory, by developing a "Road to Socialism" based on Yugoslavia's own circumstances. This new "road map" evolved rather quickly in response to some of Stalin's accusations and Yugoslavia's need to perform a balancing act between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance and the Soviet bloc. Tito quickly nationalized the economy through a policy of forced industrialization, to be supported by the collectivization of the agriculture.
The agricultural reform of 1945–46 (limited private ownership of a maximum of 35 hectares/85 acres, and a limited free market after the initial forced delivery of quotas to the state at very low prices) had to be abandoned because of the strong resistance by the peasants. The actual collectivization efforts were initiated in 1949 using welfare benefits and lower taxes as incentives along with direct coercion. But collectivization had to be abandoned by 1958 simply because its inefficiency and low productivity could not support the concentrated effort of industrial development.
By the 1950s Yugoslavia had initiated the development of its internal trademark: self-management of enterprises through workers councils and local decision-making as the road to Marx's "withering away of the state." The second five-year plan (1957–61), as opposed to the failed first one (1947–51), was completed in four years by relying on the well-established self-management system. Economic targets were set from the local to the republic level and then coordinated by a Federal Planning Institute to meet an overall national economic strategy. This system supported a period of very rapid industrial growth in the 1950s from a very low base. But a high consumption rate encouraged a volume of imports far in excess of exports, largely financed by foreign loans. In addition, inefficient and low productivity industries were kept in place through public subsidies, cheap credit, and other artificial measures that led to a serious crisis by 1961.
Reforms were necessary and, by 1965, "market socialism" was introduced with laws that abolished most price controls and halved import duties while withdrawing export subsidies. After necessary amounts were left with the earning enterprise, the rest of the earned foreign currencies were deposited with the national bank and used by the state, other enterprises, or were used to assist less-developed areas. Councils were given more decision-making power in investing their earnings, and they also tended to vote for higher salaries in order to meet steep increases in the cost of living. Unemployment grew rapidly even though "political factories" were still subsidized. The government thus relaxed its restrictions to allow labor migration, particularly to West Germany where workers were needed for its thriving economy. Foreign investment was encouraged up to 49% in joint enterprises, and barriers to the movement of people and exchange of ideas were largely removed.
The role of trade unions continued to be one of transmission of instructions from government to workers, allocation of perks along with the education/training of workers, monitoring legislation, and overall protection of the self-management system. Strikes were legally neither allowed nor forbidden, but until the 1958 miners strike in Trbovlje, Slovenia, were not publicly acknowledged and were suppressed. After 1958 strikes were tolerated as an indication of problems to be resolved. Unions, however, did not initiate strikes but were expected to convince workers to go back to work.
Having survived its expulsion from the Cominform in 1948 and Stalin's attempts to take control, Yugoslavia began to develop a foreign policy independent of the Soviet Union. By mid-1949 Yugoslavia withdrew its support from the Greek Communists in their civil war against the then-Royalist government. In October 1949, Yugoslavia was elected to one of the nonpermanent seats on the UN Security Council and openly condemned North Korea's aggression towards South Korea. Following the "rapprochement" opening with the Soviet Union, initiated by Nikita Khrushchev and his 1956 denunciation of Stalin, Tito intensified his work on developing the movement of nonaligned "third world" nations as Yugoslavia's external trademark in cooperation with Nehru of India, Nasser of Egypt, and others. With the September 1961 Belgrade summit conference of nonaligned nations, Tito became the recognized leader of the movement. The nonaligned position served Tito's Yugoslavia well by allowing Tito to draw on economic and political support from the Western powers while neutralizing any aggression from the Soviet bloc. While Tito had acquiesced, reluctantly, to the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary for fear of chaos and any liberalizing impact on Yugoslavia, he condemned the Soviet invasion of Dubček's Czechoslovakia in 1968, as did Romania's Ceausescu, both fearing their countries might be the next in line for "corrective" action by the Red Army and the Warsaw Pact. Just before his death on 4 May 1980, Tito also condemned the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Yugoslavia actively participated in the 1975 Helsinki Conference and agreements and the first 1977–78 review conference that took place in Belgrade, even though Yugoslavia's one-party Communist regime perpetrated and condoned numerous human rights violations. Overall, in the 1970s–80s Yugoslavia maintained fairly good relations with its neighboring states by playing down or solving pending disputes such as the Trieste issue with Italy in 1975, and developing cooperative projects and increased trade.
Compared to the other republics of the Federative People's Republic of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Slovenia had several advantages. It was 95% homogeneous. The Slovenes had the highest level of literacy. Their prewar economy was the most advanced and so was their agriculture, which was based on an extensive network of peasant cooperatives and savings and loans institutions developed as a primary initiative of the Slovenian People's Party ("clerical"). Though ravaged by the war, occupation, resistance and civil war losses, and preoccupied with carrying out the elimination of all actual and potential opposition, the Communist government faced the double task of building its Socialist economy while rebuilding the country. As an integral part of the Yugoslav federation, Slovenia was, naturally, affected by Yugoslavia's internal and external political developments. The main problems facing communist Yugoslavia/Slovenia were essentially the same as the unresolved ones under Royalist Yugoslavia. As the "Royal Yugoslavism" had failed in its assimilative efforts, so did the "Socialist Yugoslavism" fail to overcome the forces of nationalism. In the case of Slovenia there were several key factors in the continued attraction to its national identity: more than a thousand years of historical development; a location within Central Europe (not part of the Balkan area) and related identification with Western European civilization; the Catholic religion with the traditional role of Catholic priests (even under the persecutions by the Communist regime); the most developed and productive economy with a standard of living far superior to most other areas of the Yugoslav Federation; and finally, the increased political and economic autonomy enjoyed by the Republic after the 1974 constitution, particularly following Tito's death in 1980. Tito's motto of "unity and brotherhood" was replaced by "freedom and democracy" to be achieved through either a confederative rearrangement of Yugoslavia or by complete independence.
In December 1964, the eighth Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia (LCY) acknowledged that ethnic prejudice and antagonisms existed in socialist Yugoslavia and went on record against the position that Yugoslavia's nations had become obsolete and were disintegrating into a socialist "Yugoslavism." Thus the republics, based on individual nations, became bastions of a strong Federalism that advocated the devolution and decentralization of authority from the federal to the republic level. "Yugoslav Socialist Patriotism" was at times defined as a deep feeling for both one's own national identity and for the socialist self-management of Yugoslavia. Economic reforms were the other focus of the Eighth LCY Congress, led by Croatia and Slovenia with emphasis on efficiencies and local economic development decisions with profit criteria as their basis. The "liberal" bloc (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Vojvodina) prevailed over the "conservative" group and the reforms of 1965 did away with central investment planning and "political factories." The positions of the two blocs hardened into a national-liberal coalition that viewed the conservative, centralist group led by Serbia as the "Greater Serbian" attempt at majority domination. The devolution of power in economic decision-making spearheaded by the Slovenes assisted in the "federalization" of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia as a league of "quasi-sovereign" republican parties. Under strong prodding from the Croats, the party agreed in 1970 to the principle of unanimity for decision-making that, in practice, meant a veto power for each republic. However, the concentration of economic resources in Serbian hands continued with Belgrade banks controlling half of total credits and some 80% of foreign credits. This was also combined with the fear of Serbian political and cultural domination, particularly with respect to Croatian language sensitivities, which had been aroused by the use of the Serbian version of Serbo-Croatian as the norm, with the Croatian version as a deviation. The debates over the reforms of the 1960s led to a closer scrutiny, not only of the economic system, but also of the decision-making process at the republic and federal levels, particularly the investment of funds to less developed areas that Slovenia and Croatia felt were very poorly managed, if not squandered. Other issues fueled acrimony between individual nations, such as the 1967 Declaration in Zagreb claiming a Croatian linguistic and literary tradition separate from the Serbian one, thus undermining the validity of the Serbo-Croatian language. Also, Kosovo Albanians and Montenegrins, along with Slovenes and Croats, began to assert their national rights as superior to the Federation ones.
The language controversy exacerbated the economic and political tensions between Serbs and Croats, which spilled into the easily inflamed area of ethnic confrontations. To the conservative centralists the devolution of power to the republic level meant the subordination of the broad "Yugoslav" and "Socialist" interests to the narrow "nationalist" interest of republic national majorities. With the Croat League of Communists taking the liberal position in 1970, nationalism was rehabilitated. Thus the "Croatian Spring" bloomed and impacted all the other republics of Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, through a series of 1967–68 constitutional amendments that had limited federal power in favor of the republics and autonomous provinces, the federal government came to be seen by liberals more as an inter-republican problem-solving mechanism bordering on a confederative arrangement. A network of inter-republican committees established by mid-1971 proved to be very efficient at resolving a large number of difficult issues in a short time. The coalition of liberals and nationalists in Croatia also generated sharp condemnation in Serbia whose own brand of nationalism grew stronger, but as part of a conservative/centralist alliance. Thus the liberal/federalist versus conservative/centralist opposition became entangled in the rising nationalism within each opposing bloc. The situation in Croatia and Serbia was particularly difficult because of their minorities issues—Serbian in Croatia and Hungarian/Albanian in Serbia.
Serbs in Croatia sided with the Croat conservatives and sought a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their own national identity and rights and, in the process, challenged the sovereignty of the Croatian nation and state as well as the right to self-determination, including the right to secession. The conservatives won and the amendment declared that "the Socialist Republic of Croatia (was) the national state of the Croatian nation, the state of the Serbian nation in Croatia, and the state of the nationalities inhabiting it.
Meanwhile, Slovenia, not burdened by large minorities, developed a similar liberal and nationalist direction along with Croatia. This fostered an incipient separatist sentiment opposed by both the liberal and conservative party wings. Led by Stane Kavčič, head of the Slovenian government, the liberal wing gained as much local political latitude as possible from the federal level during the early 1970s "Slovenian Spring." By the summer of 1971, the Serbian party leadership was pressuring President Tito to put an end to the "dangerous" development of Croatian nationalism. While Tito wavered because of his support for the balancing system of autonomous republic units, the situation quickly reached critical proportions.
Croat nationalists, complaining about discrimination against Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, demanded the incorporation of Western Herzegovina into Croatia. Serbia countered by claiming Southeastern Herzegovina for itself. Croats also advanced claims to a larger share of their foreign currency earnings, to the issuance of their own currency, the creation of their own national bank that would directly negotiate foreign loans, the printing of Croatian postage stamps, the creation of a Croatian army, and recognition of the Croatian Sabor (assembly) as the highest Croatian political body, and, finally, to Croatian secession and complete independence. Confronted with such intensive agitation, the liberal Croatian party leadership could not back down and did not try to restrain the maximalist public demands nor the widespread university students' strike of November 1971. This situation caused a loss of support from the liberal party wings of Slovenia and even Macedonia. At this point Tito intervened, condemned the Croatian liberal leadership on 1 December 1971, and supported the conservative wing. The liberal leadership group resigned on 12 December 1971. When Croatian students demonstrated and demanded an independent Croatia, the Yugoslav army was ready to move in if necessary. A wholesale purge of the party liberals followed with tens of thousands expelled, key functionaries lost their positions, several thousand were imprisoned (including Franjo Tudjman who later became president in independent Croatia), and leading Croatian nationalist organizations and their publications were closed.
On 8 May 1972, the Croatian party also expelled its liberal wing leaders and the purge of nationalists continued through 1973 in Croatia, as well as in Slovenia and Macedonia. However, the issues and sentiments raised during the "Slovene and Croat Springs" of 1969–71 did not disappear. Tito and the conservatives were forced to satisfy nominally some demands. The 1974 constitution was an attempt to resolve the strained inter-republican relations as each republic pursued its own interests over and above an overall "Yugoslav" interest. The repression of liberal-nationalist Croats was accompanied by the growing influence of the Serbian element in the Croatian Party (24% in 1980) and police force (majority) that contributed to the continued persecution and imprisonments of Croatian nationalists into the 1980s.
In Slovenia, developments took a direction of their own. The purge of the nationalists took place as in Croatia but on a lesser scale, and after a decade or so, nationalism was revived through the development of grassroots movements in the arts, music, peace, and environmental concerns. Activism was particularly strong among young people, who shrewdly used the regime-supported youth organizations, youth periodicals—such as Mladina (in Ljubljana) and Katedra (in Maribor)—and an independent student radio station. The journal Nova Revija published a series of articles focusing on problems confronting the Slovenian nation in February 1987; these included such varied topics as the status of the Slovenian language, the role of the Communist Party, the multiparty system, and independence. The Nova Revija was in reality a Slovenian national manifesto that, along with yearly public opinion polls showing ever higher support for Slovenian independence, indicated a definite mood toward secession. In this charged atmosphere, the Yugoslav army committed two actions that led the Slovenes to the path of actual separation from Yugoslavia. In March 1988, the army's Military Council submitted a confidential report to the federal presidency claiming that Slovenia was planning a counter revolution and calling for repressive measures against liberals and a coup d'etat. An army document delineating such actions was delivered by an army sergeant to the journal Mladina. But, before it could be published, Mladina's editor and two journalists were arrested by the army on 31 March 1988. Meanwhile, the strong intervention of the Slovenian political leadership succeeded in stopping any army action. But the four men involved in the affair were put on trial by the Yugoslav army.
The second army faux pas was to hold the trial in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, and to conduct it in the Serbo-Croatian language, an action declared constitutional by the Yugoslav presidency, claiming that Slovenian law could not be applied to the Yugoslav army. This trial brought about complete unity among Slovenians in opposition to the Yugoslav army and what it represented, and the four individuals on trial became overnight heroes. One of them was Janez Janša who had written articles in Mladina critical of the Yugoslav army and was the head of the Slovenian pacifist movement and president of the Slovenian Youth Organization. (Ironically, three years later Janša led the successful defense of Slovenia against the Yugoslav army and became the first minister of defense of independent Slovenia.) The four men were found guilty and sentenced to jail terms from four years (Janša) to five months. The total mobilization of Slovenia against the military trials led to the formation of the first non-Communist political organizations and political parties. In a time of perceived national crisis, both the Communist and non-Communist leadership found it possible to work closely together. But from that time on the liberal/nationalist vs. conservative/centralist positions hardened in Yugoslavia and no amount of negotiation at the federal presidency level regarding a possible confederal solution could hold Yugoslavia together any longer.
Since 1986, work had been done on amendments to the 1974 constitution that, when submitted in 1987, created a furor, particularly in Slovenia, due to the proposed creation of a unified legal system, the establishment of central control over the means of transportation and communication, centralization of the economy into a unified market, and the granting of more control to Serbia over its autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina. This all came at the expense of the individual republics. A recentralization of the League of Communists was also recommended but opposed by liberal/nationalist groups. Serbia's President Slobodan Milošević also proposed changes to the bicameral Federal Skupština (Assembly) by replacing it with a tricameral one where deputies would no longer be elected by their republican assemblies but through a "one person, one vote" national system. Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina strongly opposed the change as they opposed the additional Chamber of Associated Labor that would have increased the federal role in the economy. The debates over the recentralizing amendments caused an even greater focus in Slovenia and Croatia on the concept of a confederative structure based on self-determination by "sovereign" states and a multiparty democratic system as the only one that could maintain some semblance of a "Yugoslav" state.
By 1989 and the period following the Serbian assertion of control in the Kosovo and Vojvodina provinces, as well as in the republic of Montenegro, relations between Slovenia and Serbia reached a crisis point: Serbian President Milošević attempted to orchestrate mass demonstrations by Serbs in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia, and the Slovenian leadership vetoed it. Then Serbs started to boycott Slovenian products, to withdraw their savings from Slovenian banks, and to terminate economic cooperation and trade with Slovenia. Serbian President Milošević's tactics were extremely distasteful to the Slovenians and the use of force against the Albanian population of the Kosovo province worried the Slovenes (and Croats) about the possible use of force by Serbia against Slovenia itself. The tensions with Serbia convinced the Slovenian leadership of the need to take necessary protective measures. In September 1989, draft amendments to the constitution of Slovenia were published that included the right to secession, and the sole right of the Slovenian legislature to introduce martial law. The Yugoslav army particularly needed the amendment granting control over deployment of armed forces in Slovenia, since the Yugoslav army, controlled by a mostly Serbian/Montenegrin officer corps dedicated to the preservation of a Communist system, had a self-interest in preserving the source of their own budgetary allocations of some 51% of the Yugoslav federal budget.
A last attempt at salvaging Yugoslavia was to be made at the extraordinary Congress of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia convened in January 1990 to review proposed reforms such as free multiparty elections, and freedom of speech. The Slovenian delegation attempted to broaden the spectrum of reforms but was rebuffed and walked out on 23 January 1990, pulling out of the Yugoslav League. The Slovenian Communists then renamed their party the Party for Democratic Renewal. The political debate in Slovenia intensified and some 19 parties were formed by early 1990. On 10 April 1990 the first free elections since before World War II were held in Slovenia, where there still was a three-chamber Assembly: political affairs, associated labor, and territorial communities. A coalition of six newly formed democratic parties, called Demos, won 55% of the votes, with the remainder going to the Party for Democratic Renewal, the former Communists (17%), the Socialist Party (5%), and the Liberal Democratic Party—heir to the Slovenia Youth Organization (15%). The Demos coalition organized the first freely elected Slovenian government of the post-Communist era with Dr. Lojze Peterle as the prime minister.
Milan Kucan, former head of the League of Communists of Slovenia, was elected president with 54% of the vote in recognition of his efforts to effect a bloodless transfer of power from a monopoly by the Communist party to a free multiparty system and his standing up to the recentralizing attempts by Serbia.
In October 1990, Slovenia and Croatia published a joint proposal for a Yugoslavian confederation as a last attempt at a negotiated solution, but to no avail. The Slovenian legislature also adopted in October a draft constitution proclaiming that "Slovenia will become an independent state." On 23 December 1990, a plebiscite was held on Slovenia's disassociation from Yugoslavia if a confederate solution could not be negotiated within a six-month period. An overwhelming majority of 89% of voters approved the secession provision and a declaration of sovereignty was adopted on 26 December 1990. All federal laws were declared void in Slovenia as of 20 February 1991, and since no negotiated agreement was possible, Slovenia declared its independence on 25 June 1991. On 27 June 1991, the Yugoslav army tried to seize control of Slovenia and its common borders with Italy, Austria, and Hungary under the pretext that it was the army's constitutional duty to assure the integrity of Socialist Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav army units were surprised and shocked by the resistance they encountered from the Slovenian "territorial guards," who surrounded Yugoslav army tank units, isolated them, and engaged in close combat, mostly along border checkpoints that ended in most cases with Yugoslav units surrendering to the Slovenian forces. Fortunately, casualties were limited on both sides. Over 3,200 Yugoslav army soldiers surrendered and were well treated by the Slovenes, who scored a public relations coup by having the prisoners call their parents all over Yugoslavia to come to Slovenia and take their sons back home.
The war in Slovenia ended in 10 days due to the intervention of the European Community, who negotiated a cease-fire and a three-month moratorium on Slovenia's implementation of independence, giving the Yugoslav army time to retreat from Slovenia by the end of October 1991. Thus Slovenia was able to "disassociate" itself from Yugoslavia with a minimum of casualties, although the military operations caused considerable physical damages estimated at almost us$3 billion. On 23 December 1991, one year following the independence plebiscite, a new constitution was adopted by Slovenia establishing a parliamentary democracy with a bicameral legislature. Even though US Secretary of State James Baker, in his visit to Belgrade on 21 June 1991, had declared that the United States opposed unilateral secessions by Slovenia and Croatia and that the United States would therefore not recognize them as independent countries, such recognition came first from Germany on 18 December 1991, from the European Community on 15 January 1992, and finally from the United States on 7 April 1992. Slovenia was accepted as a member of the UN on 23 April 1992 and has since become a member of many other international organizations, including the Council of Europe in 1993 and the NATO related Partnership for Peace in 1994.
On 6 December 1992, general elections were held in accordance with the new constitution, with 22 parties participating and eight receiving sufficient votes to assure representation. A coalition government was formed by the Liberal Democrats, Christian Democrats, and the United List Group of Leftist Parties. Dr. Milan Kucan was elected president, and Dr. Janez Drnovšek became prime minister. In 1997 a compromise was struck which allowed Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary to join the NATO alliance in 1999 while Romania and Slovenia were identified as prime candidates for future nomination into the alliance. Also in 1997, Slovenia signed an association agreement with the European Union (EU) and was invited to talks on EU membership.
In the 1970s, Slovenia had reached a standard of living close to the one in neighboring Austria and Italy. However, the burdens imposed by the excessive cost of maintaining a large Yugoslav army, heavy contributions to the Fund for Less Developed Areas, and the repayments on a us$20 billion international debt, caused a lowering of its living standard over the 1980s. The situation worsened with the trauma of secession from Yugoslavia, the war damages suffered, and the loss of the former Yugoslav markets. In spite of all these problems Slovenia has made progress since independence by improving its productivity, controlling inflation, and reorienting its exports to Western Europe. The Slovenian economy has been quite strong since 1994, growing at an annual rate of about 4% during the late 1990s. Based on past experience, its industriousness, and good relationship with its trading partners, Slovenia has a very good chance of becoming a successful example of the transition from authoritarian socialism to a free democratic system and a market economy capable of sustaining a comfortable standard and quality of life.
Although governed from independence by centrist coalitions headed by Prime Minister Janez Drnovšek, the coalition collapsed in April 2000. Economist and center-right Social Democrat Party leader Andrej Bajuk became prime minister, until elections on 15 October 2000 saw Drnovšek return to power at the head of a four-party coalition. Drnovšek ran for president in elections held on 1 December 2002, and emerged with 56.5% of the vote in the second round, defeating Barbara Brezigar, who took 43.5%. Both supported EU and NATO membership for Slovenia. Liberal Democrat Anton Rop took over as prime minister when Drnovšek was elected president. The next presidential election was to be held fall 2007.
In the spring of 2004, Slovenia became a member of NATO and the EU. Later that year it held parliamentary elections, which were won by the center-right Slovenian Democratic Party—the first time in 13 years that a party other than the Liberal Democrats took power. In December 2004, Janez Jansa, who served as defense minister in previous governments, became, with the support of the parliament, prime minister. Jansa promised to reduce state administrative costs and to speed up the euro adoption process. The next National Assembly elections were scheduled for October 2008. In February 2005, Slovenia ratified the EU constitution.
Slovenia is a republic based on a constitution adopted on 23 December 1991, one year following the plebiscite that supported its independence. As of early 2006, the president was Janez Drnovšek, elected in November 2002. The prime minister was Janez Jansa, elected in October 2004.
The constitution provides for a National Assembly as the highest legislative authority with 90 seats. Deputies are elected to four-year terms of office. The National Council, with 40 seats, has an advisory role, and councilors represent social, economic, professional, and local interests. They are elected to five-year terms of office and may propose laws to the National Assembly, request the latter to review its decisions, and may demand the calling of a constitutional referendum.
The executive branch consists of a president of the republic who is also Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and is elected to a five-year term of office, limited to two consecutive terms. The president calls for elections to the National Assembly, proclaims the adopted laws, and proposes candidates for prime minister to the National Assembly. A Council of Ministers to advise the president is nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly.
Parliamentary elections were held on 3 October 2004, with the Slovene Democratic Party (SDS) garnering the highest number of seats—29; the Liberal Democratic Party (which dominated the political scene since Slovenia's independence, in 1991) got 23; the United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD), 10 seats; New Slovenia (Nsi), 9 seats; Slovene People's Party (SLS), 7 seats; Slovenian National Party (SNS), 6 seats; Democratic Party of Retired People of Slovenia (DeSUS), 4 seats; Italian Minority, 1 seat; and the Hungarian Minority, 1 seat. The SDS forged a coalition with two center-right parties—Nsi and SLS—and a center-left party—DeSUS. In November 2004, the National Assembly elected Janez Jansa prime minister, with 57 votes in favor. The next parliamentary elections were scheduled for October 2008.
Party candidates are elected by each district. A candidate is only elected when votes for each party reach a given threshold. A new electoral code was passed in 2000, raising the threshold for securing seats from 3.2% to 4% and ending the use of preferential party lists for allocating seats to candidates who did not win direct mandates.
The commune or municipality (obcčina) is the basic self-managed sociopolitical community. There are 193 municipalities and 11 urban municipalities in Slovenia, which have directly elected councils as their representative bodies. A municipality must have at least 5,000 inhabitants. An urban municipality must have at least 20,000 inhabitants, be the place of employment for at least 15,000 people, and be the geographic, economic, and cultural center of the area. There are 58 state administrative units in Slovenia, which have jurisdiction over one or several municipalities. Advisory committees are formed to ensure cooperation between municipal bodies and administrative units. Members of these committees are appointed by the municipal councils. There are also local, village, and ward communities in Slovenia.
In May 2005, the country was divided into 12 statistical regions, and the government plans another partition into 10 to 12 administrative regions. This new divide might follow the borders of the statistical regions, but parliamentary debates, and constitutional changes, had to precede this process.
The judicial system consists of local and district courts and a Supreme Court, which hears appeals from these courts. A ninemember Constitutional Court resolves jurisdictional disputes and rules on the constitutionality of legislation and regulations. The Constitutional Court also acts as a final court of appeal in cases requiring constitutional interpretation.
Judges are elected by parliament after nomination by a Judicial Council composed of 11 members—six judges selected by their peers and five persons elected by the National Assembly on nomination of the president. The constitution guarantees the independence of judges. Judges are appointed to permanent positions subject to an age limit.
The constitution affords criminal defendants a presumption of innocence, open court proceedings, the right to an appeal, a prohibition against double jeopardy, and a number of other procedural due process protections.
The Slovenian armed forces numbered 6,550 active personnel in 2005, with 20,000 reservists. The Slovene Army was equipped with 70 main battle tanks, eight reconnaissance vehicles, 26 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 64 armored personnel carriers, and 140 artillery pieces. The Army's air wing of 530 personnel operated three transport and 12 training fixed wing aircraft, as well as 13 helicopters. There was also a small maritime element with 47 active personnel, operating a single patrol boat. Paramilitary personnel consisted of a 4,500-member police force, with 5,000 reservists. Slovenia participated in UN, NATO, and European Union peacekeeping or military missions in four regions or countries. The defense budget in 2005 totaled $580 million.
Slovenia was admitted to the United Nations in 1992; it is part of several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, IAEA, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, ILO, the World Bank and the WHO. Slovenia is also a member of the Council of Europe, OSCE, the WTO, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, NATO, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, and the European Union. The country holds observer status in the OAS and is a member affiliate of the Western European Union.
Slovenia is part of the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group). In environmental cooperation, the nation is part of the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.
Before its independence, Slovenia was the most highly developed and wealthiest republic of the former Yugoslav SFR, with a per capita income more than double that of the Yugoslav average, and nearly comparable to levels in neighboring Austria and Italy. The painful transition to a market-based economy was exacerbated by the disruption of intra-Yugoslav trade. However, Slovenia's economy has not suffered as much as was predicted during the breakup of the Yugoslav SFR, due to strong ties with Western Europe. Whereas GDP fell by 9% in 1991 and 6% in 1992, the 1993 GDP grew by 1.3%. Since then real GDP growth has averaged 4% a year. In 2001 and 2002, a weak external environment slowed growth to 3% and 2.9% (est.). Until 1991 to 1999, Slovenia's budget deficit rarely exceeded 1% of GDP. In 2000 and 2001, the general government debt increased to 1.4% of GDP, and was projected to reach 2.9% in 2002. The unemployment rate (ILO definition) has fallen from 7.6% in 1999 to 6.4% in 2001 and an estimated 6.3% in 2002. Inflation as measured by consumer prices (end of period) rose from 8% in 1998 and 1999 to 8.9% in 2000, but then fell to 7% in 2001 and 7.2%(est.) in 2002.
Under the Communists, large parts of the economy were nationalized, with most restructuring involving the infrastructure, electricity, telecommunications, utilities, major banks, insurers, and the steel industry. Subsequent reforms enabled managers and workers to purchase up to 60% of their companies. As a result, nearly 70% of manufacturing firms in Slovenia are owned by their employees.
Slovenia freed prices and implemented a privatization law in November 1992, which has enabled private businesses to expand. The Slovene privatization program began in 1993 and involved 1,500 companies, 1,000 of which had completed privatization by mid-1997, including most small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2001, an estimated 55% of the economy had been privatized.
The outlook for Slovenia's economy is good, as both inflation and unemployment are expected to continue edging down. By 2002 the country's real GDP per capita had risen to about 70% the EU average, and in May 2004 Slovenia was accepted as a full member of the latter.
Moderate growth rates were registered in 2003 and 2004 (2.5% and 3.9% respectively), and the trend was expected to continue in 2005, with a predicted GDP growth rate of 3.6%. Inflation continued on its downward spiral, reaching 5.6% in 2003, and 3.3% in 2004; predictions show it to continue to decrease in 2005, at 2.6%. Unemployment has remained fairly stable (although on a slight decrease path), hovering around 10.5%. Slovenia remains one of the most developed Central and Eastern European countries and was the first to make the transition from a borrower status to a partner at the World Bank. Privatizations, structural reforms, and policy implementations have happened at an accelerated pace, and Slovenia is expected to adopt the euro by 2007.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Slovenia's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $42.1 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $20,900. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 3.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2.4%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2.8% of GDP, industry 36.9%, and services 60.3%.
According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $255 million or about $128 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.9% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $66 million or about $33 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.2% of the gross national income (GNI).
The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Slovenia totaled $15.10 billion or about $7,570 per capita based on a GDP of $27.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.4%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 27% of household consumption was spent on food, 14% on fuel, 4% on health care, and 16% on education.
As of 2005, Slovenia's labor force totaled an estimated 920,000 persons. As of 2002, agriculture accounted for 6% of the workforce, with industry at 40% and 55% in the services sector. Unemployment was estimated at 9.8% in 2005.
The constitution provides that the establishment, activities, and recruitment of members of labor unions shall be unrestricted. There are two main labor federations, with constituent branches throughout the society, as well as a smaller regional union. Virtually all workers except for police and military personnel are eligible to form and join unions. The right to strike is also guaranteed by the constitution. Collective bargaining is still undergoing development, and the government still has the principal role in setting labor conditions.
The minimum wage was $373 monthly in 2002, although increasingly, private businesses are setting pay scales directly with their employees' unions or representatives. The workweek is 42 hours, and the minimum working age is 16. Occupational health and safety standards are set by the government and regularly enforced.
Some 202,000 hectares (499,000 acres), or 10% of the total land area, were in use as cropland in 2003. Agriculture contributed about 3% to GDP in 2003; Slovenia was the least agriculturally active of all the republics of the former Yugoslav SFR. Major crops produced in 2004 included: wheat, 147,000 tons; corn, 357,000 tons; potatoes, 171,000 tons; sugar beets, 213,000 tons; olives, 2,100 tons; and fruit, 411,000 tons (of which grapes accounted for 33%).
Permanent pasture land covers about 15% of the total land area. Sheep and cattle breeding, as well as dairy farming, dominate the agricultural sector of the economy. In 2005, the livestock population included: pigs, 534,000; cattle, 451,000; sheep, 94,000; goats, 22,000; horses, 20,000; and chickens, 4.8 million. Meat production in 2005 included 45,500 tons of beef, 70,000 tons of pork, and 64,000 tons of poultry. Productivity rates for livestock and dairy farming are comparable to much of Western Europe. In 2005, 654,000 tons of milk and 20,000 tons of eggs were produced. Poultry and eggs are some of the few agricultural products where Slovenia's domestic production still exceeds domestic demand.
The total catch in 2003 was 2,635 tons, 49% from marine fishing. The freshwater catch is dominated by rainbow trout and common carp. Exports of fish products amounted to $7.3 million in 2003, up from $5.1 million in 1997. The fishing sector accounts for less than 1% of foreign investment.
Forests cover 55% of the total area; they are Slovenia's most significant natural resource. Roundwood production was 2,551,000 cu m (90 million cu ft) in 2004. Production included wood pulp, 153,000 tons; paper and paperboard, 557,600 tons; and wood-based panels, 474,000 cu m (16.7 million cu ft). Exports of forest product in 2004 totaled $624 million. The furniture-making industry is also a prominent consumer of forest products.
Slovenia's output of metals in 2003 included refined and secondary lead, aluminum ingot, and crude steel. The country's mining and quarrying sector accounted for around 0.9% of Slovenia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003. Slovenia's industrial output grew by about 1.4% in 2003 from 2002. Apart from being a substantial producer of quartz, quartzite and glass sand (200,000 metric tons in 2003), Slovenia was also a modest producer of common clay, coke and petroleum products. In 2003 output of: aluminum ingot (primary and secondary) totaled 109,800 metric tons; crude steel, 543,000 metric tons; and lead (refined and secondary), 15,000 metric tons. Industrial mineral production in 2003 included: cement, 1.3 million tons; bentonite, 4,000 metric tons; lime, 150,000 tons; salt (all sources) 125,000 metric tons; and dimension stone, 12,603 metric tons. Also produced was pumice, and sand and gravel.
Slovenia, with miniscule reserves of oil and no natural gas reserves, is heavily reliant upon imports to meet its petroleum and natural gas needs.
In 2002, Slovenia's imports of all petroleum products averaged 53,640 barrels per day, of which crude oil imports averaged 100 barrels per day. Distillates and gasoline were the top two refined oil products imported that year, averaging 28,140 barrels per day and 18,180 barrels per day, respectively. Crude oil production in 2002 averaged 100 barrels per day. Domestic demand for refined oil products averaged 51,040 barrels per day. Domestic output of refined oil products averaged 100 barrels per day.
Slovenia imported all of the natural gas it consumed in 2002. Imports and demand for dry natural gas totaled 34.26 billion cu ft.
Coal was Slovenia's most abundant fossil fuel. Domestic output of all coal products totaled 5,166,000 short tons in 2002, of which lignite or brown coal accounted for 4,462,000 short tons. Coal product imports in 2002 totaled 694,000 short tons, of which 631,000 short tons was hard coal, and 63,000 short tons were coke. Demand for coal products in 2002 totaled 6,212,000 short tons.
Slovenia's electric power generation sector relies upon fossil fuels, hydropower and nuclear power. In 2002, total installed electrical capacity was 2.735 million kW, of which conventional thermal capacity was the largest at 1.220 million kW. Hydroelectric capacity that year stood at 0.839 million kW, followed by nuclear at 0.676 million kW. Electric power production in 2002 amounted to 13.882 billion kWh, with nuclear energy providing the largest portion of electric power generated at 5.310 billion kWh, followed by conventional thermal sources at 5.120 billion kWh and hydropower at 3.355 billion kWh. Domestic consumption of electricity totaled 11.780 billion kWh in 2002.
Slovenia imports oil from the former republics of the USSR and the developing world to supply a refinery at Lendava. Coal is mined at Velenje. Natural gas is used extensively for industry and is supplied by the former USSR and Algeria via 305 km (190 mi) of natural gas pipelines.
Manufacturing is widely diversified. Important manufacturing sectors include: electrical and nonelectrical machinery, metal processing, chemicals, textiles and clothing, wood processing and furniture, transport equipment, and food processing. In the composition of total value-added by economic activity, the share from industry declined from 50% in 1989 to 43% in 1991. Industry declined still further to 36% of GDP by 2001. Industrial production, which fell by about 25% in the early 1990s due in part to the international sanctions against Serbia, grew by an estimated 1% in 1996 and increased by 3.3% in 2001. The recovery of industrial production has been slower than expected, as the shift from parastatal to private ownership continues. Only in the late 1990s were steps taken to privatize key industrial sectors such as telecommunications, utilities, and steel. Slovenia produced 116,082 automobiles in 2001, a 6% decline from 2000.
The industry seemed to have stabilized by 2004, contributing 36% to the total GDP, and with an industrial production growth rate that equaled the GDP growth rate, at 3.9%; industry employed 40% of the labor force. Agriculture made up 3% of the total economy, and employed 6% of the working people; services came in first, with 60% and 55% respectively. Main industries included ferrous metallurgy and aluminum products, lead and zinc smelting, electronics (including military electronics), trucks, electric power equipment, wood products, textiles, chemicals, machine tools.
The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, founded in 1938, has institutes conducting research in biology, paleontology, and medicine. Headquartered in Ljubljana are the Association of Engineers and Technicians of Slovenia; the Association of Mathematicians, Physicists, and Astronomers of Slovenia, and the Society for Natural Sciences of Slovenia. The Ljubljana Geological Institute was founded in 1946, and the Institute for Karst Research a year later in Postojna. The University of Ljubljana has faculties of arts and sciences; natural sciences and technology; architecture, civil engineering, and geodesy; electrical and computer engineering; mechanical engineering; medicine; and veterinary medicine. The University of Maribor has a college of agriculture, a faculty of technical sciences, and a center for applied mathematics and theoretical physics. In 1987–97, science and engineering students accounted for 26% of university enrollment.
In 2002 research and development (R&D) expenditures totaled $562.019 million, or 1.54% of GDP. Of that amount, the largest portion came from the business sector at 60%, followed by government sources at 35.6%. Foreign sources accounted for 3.7% and higher education 0.6%. In that same year, there were 2,364 scientists and engineers engaged in R&D per one million people. High technology exports in 2002 were valued at $488 million, or 5% of the country's manufactured exports.
Slovenia's domestic economy has historically been small, thus necessitating an emphasis on exports. New legislation in 1994 regarding tax exemptions on imported inputs was expected to help domestic companies compete with foreign firms. More recent reforms are aimed at encouraging and increasing both local and foreign investment.
There are a number of wholesalers and retailers throughout the country. American and European franchises have been established within the country. Installment financing, even for small ticket items, is common. Consumer prices are generally high due to the high cost of labor and transportation. The government maintains price controls on certain goods and services, such as gasoline, railway travel, telecommunications, and milk.
Retail hours are generally between 8 am and 8 pm on weekdays. Stores may be open for a half-day on Saturdays.
Slovenia has reoriented much of its trade away from its former Yugoslav neighbors toward Western Europe. Sanctions imposed by the UN on trade with Serbia severed Slovenia from its largest
|Italy-San Marino-Holy See||1,674.0||2,533.6||-859.6|
|Serbia and Montenegro||392.6||76.3||316.3|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
foreign market. In 1992, 55% of Slovenia's exports were sent to the European Union (EU), and only 30% to Croatia and the other former Yugoslav republics. By 2000, the EU was buying 64% of Slovenia's exports.
Slovenia manufactures and exports mostly motor vehicles (8.5%), furniture (6.8%), and household electrical equipment (5.7%). Other exports include medicinal and pharmaceutical products (4.5%), clothes (4.4%), paper (3.4%), and iron and steel (3.3%).
In 2004, exports totaled $15 billion (FOB—Free on Board), with imports slightly higher at $16 billion (FOB). Slovenia's main export partners were Germany (which received 18.3% of total exports), Italy (11.6%), Austria (11.5%), France (7.4%), Croatia (7.4%), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (4.8%). Imports included machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, chemicals, fuels and lubricants, food, and mainly came from Germany (19.9%), Italy (17%), Austria (14.9%), France (10.2%), and Hungary (3.8%).
Slovenia's public finances are among the strongest and most stable of the emerging nations in Eastern and Central Europe.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2002 the purchasing power parity of Slovenia's exports was $10.3 billion while imports totaled $11.1 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $800 million.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Slovenia had exports of goods totaling $9.34 billion and imports totaling $9.96 billion. The services credit totaled $1.96 billion and debit $1.46 million.
Exports of goods and services totaled $19.3 billion in 2004, up from $15.7 billion in 2003. Imports grew from $15.7 billion in 2003, to $19.5 billion in 2004. Although Slovenia has managed to keep a fine balance between imports and exports, the resource balance was on a negative upsurge, growing from -$19 million in 2003, to -$212 million in 2004. A similar trend was registered for the current account balance, which deteriorated from -$99 million in 2003, to -$275 million in 2004. The national reserves (including gold) were $8.6 billion in 2003, covering more than six months of imports; by 2004, they grew to $8.9 billion.
|Balance on goods||-625.4|
|Balance on services||606.6|
|Balance on income||-187.8|
|Direct investment abroad||-466.0|
|Direct investment in Slovenia||337.0|
|Portfolio investment assets||-220.0|
|Portfolio investment liabilities||-30.3|
|Other investment assets||-922.6|
|Other investment liabilities||1,847.0|
|Net Errors and Omissions||54.8|
|Reserves and Related Items||-310.2|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
The Bank of Slovenia is the country's central bank, and it is independent of the government. It has pursued a tight monetary and credit policy, aimed at the gradual reduction of inflation, since the introduction of the tolar in October 1991. The bank ended some of the worst abuses of the banking system under the Yugoslavian federation, such as enterprises setting up their own banks from which they borrowed freely.
At the end of 1996, the Bank of Slovenia changed its method of calculating the revalorization rate for other banks. From January 1997, the rate is derived from price increases over the preceding six months, instead of four months as before.
Yet not until 1999 did Slovenia move to reform its banking sector by privatizing some of its largest banks and permitting foreign investment. Two of the largest state-owned banks, Nova Ljubljanska Banka and Nova Kreditna banka Maribor, were prime candidates for privatization. Analysts also expected large-scale consolidation to follow in the wake of the banking divestment.
The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand deposits—an aggregate commonly known as M1—were equal to $1.9 billion. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $10.8 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 6.9%.
Commercial banks in the country include the Albania JointStock Company. The currency unit is the tolar (Slt).
The Ljubljana Stock Exchange, abolished in 1953, was reopened in December 1989. As of 2001, it listed 38 securities and had 60 members. Total market capitalization was $2.8 billion that year, and trading value was $794 million, an increase of 30.5% from the previous year. As of 2004, a total of 140 companies were listed on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange, which had a market capitalization of $9.677 billion. Trading value that year was $1.170 billion, up
|Revenue and Grants||2,529.8||100.0%|
|General public services||279.6||10.7%|
|Public order and safety||105.4||4.0%|
|Housing and community amenities||22.7||0.9%|
|Recreational, culture, and religion||67.9||2.6%|
|(…) data not available or not significant.|
14.7% from the previous year. The Ljubljana International Futures and Options Exchange, Ltd. opened in 1998.
In 1996, the company Zavarovaluica Triglav wrote all classes of insurance. There were at least 13 companies operating in Slovenia in 1997. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $1.440 billion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $1.095 billion. In that same year, Triglev was Slovenia's top nonlife and life insurer, with gross written premiums of $346.3 million and $145.1 million, respectively.
Economic management is fairly good in Slovenia. Public finances showed modest deficits of about 1.4% of GDP through 2001. The debt to GDP ratio was 37% in 2001. Privatization has been relatively successful, although some of the business practices of the Yugoslav brand of communism have carried over to the newly private enterprises.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Slovenia's central government took in revenues of approximately $16 billion and had expenditures of $16.7 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$710 million. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 29.9% of GDP. Total external debt was $20.57 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were Slt2,529.8 billion and expenditures were Slt2,609.3 billion. The value of revenues was us$12 million and expenditures us$12 million, based on an exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = Slt207.11 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 10.7%; defense, 2.8%; public order and safety, 4.0%; economic affairs, 8.4%; environmental protection, 0.9%; housing and community amenities, 0.9%; health, 14.9%; recreation, culture, and religion, 2.6%; education, 13.9%; and social protection, 40.9%.
As of 2005, Slovenia had a flat 25% tax rate on corporate income. Capital gains are included as business income and taxed at the same corporate rate. Generally, the withholding tax on dividends distributed to residents and nonresidents is 25%, as it is with interest and royalties. The resident branches of foreign companies are taxed at the same 25% rate as Slovenian companies.
Personal income is taxed according to a progressive schedule up to 50%. All taxpayers can subtract 11% of their annual income from their taxable base. In addition, families with children can deduct 10% of their income for the first child and 5% for each additional child. There is a standard 3% deduction for investment in real estate, plus allowances for other living expenses, medical expenses, etc. Payroll taxes are assessed for health insurance and employment. There are gift and inheritance, and land taxes.
A sales tax of 20% on consumer products and 10% on services was replaced as of 1 July 1999 with Slovenia's value-added tax (VAT) introduced at a standard rate of 19% and a reduced rate of 7.5%. As of 1 January 2002 the standard rate was increased to 20% and the reduced rate upped to 8.5%, where it stood as of 2005. The reduced rate applies to food, medicines and agricultural products. Exports, insurance, banking and financial services are exempt. There are also excise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and fuel.
Imports to Slovenia are generally unrestricted, except for certain agricultural, textile, and wood products. Customs duties on raw materials are 0–5%, semifinished products are assessed 5–10%, and equipment is charged 8–15%, while finished products or consumer goods are levied 15–27%. Many import taxes have been abolished, and further liberalization is planned. However, a sales tax and a customs clearance fee still exist.
The European Union (EU) signed a cooperation agreement with Slovenia in April 1993, which provided for greater access to the EU market. Slovenia also entered into trade agreements with Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia in 1993 that will gradually eliminate most trade barriers. By 1997, countries enjoying most-favored nation (MFN) status with Slovenia were assessed a 10.7% weighted average tariff. In 1999, following a reduction in its bilateral tariff with the European Union, Slovenia also lowered its MFN tariff.
Since independence, the foreign investment climate has steadily improved in Slovenia, despite constraints that have inhibited investment. The small domestic economy has been viewed by many prospective investors as the least risky of the former Yugoslav republics, but to date Slovenia's share of world foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have been well below its share of world GDP. From 1988 to 1990, its share of world FDI was 60% of its share of world GDP, and from 1998 to 2000, it was only 30% of its share of world GDP.
Until the late 1990s Slovenia retained several barriers to foreign investment. Any company incorporated in Slovenia was required to have a majority of Slovenes on its board of directors, or a managing director or proxy of Slovene nationality. Foreign companies and individuals of foreign nationality were prohibited from owning land in Slovenia. However, any company incorporated in Slovenia was permitted to purchase real estate, regardless of the origin of its founding capital. Liberalization laws enacted in 1999 lowered the threshold of foreign direct investment from 50% to 10%. This allowed more foreign investors to avert the custody account regime.
FDI inflow amounted to $375.2 million in 1997, but fell to about $250 million in 1998. In 1999 and 2000, FDI inflows averaged close to $180 million. In 2001, contrary to the trend toward the decline of foreign investment worldwide, FDI inflow into Slovenia rose to a record $442 million.
Despite its overall attractiveness, Slovenia has not managed to attract significant levels of FDI, as compared to some other Central and Eastern European Countries (like Hungary or the Czech Republic). At the end of 2003 the total stock of FDI in the country was roughly $5.1 billion, with the majority of capital inflows coming from the European Union. A major reason for the recent poor performance in this sector can be attributed to the shelving of proposed privatizations in the energy, telecommunication, and financial sectors by the government of Slovenia.
The most productive of the former Yugoslav republics, Slovenia enjoys a high degree of prosperity and stability, and has made a successful transition to a market economy. It has become a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the World Bank; it obtained an $80 million loan for financial rehabilitation from the latter. The EBRD loaned Slovenia $50 million for the improvement of the railway sector. The country is a founding member of the WTO. Unlike the rest of the former communist states of Eastern Europe, Slovenia never received assistance from the International Monetary Fund. Its per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is comparable to EU members Portugal and Greece.
Slovenia's economy is heavily dependent upon foreign trade, with trade equaling around 120% of GDP. The budgets for 2003 and 2004 restricted the public deficit to 1% of GDP. Inflation fell from 200% in 1992 to 7.5% in 2002. Further privatizations—especially in the telecommunications, financial, and energy sectors—were planned as of 2003 but were put on hold indefinitely. Foreign direct investment has been high since 2000, almost tripling from 2001 to 2002 (accounting for 6.5% of GDP), but returned to lower levels in 2003 and 2004.
On 1 May 2004 Slovenia joined the European Union, which further strengthened the aura of political and economic stability it already had. It is one of the first 10 newly accepted countries, expected to introduce the euro by 2007. Slovenia registered steady growth rates since 1993 and is now behaving like a fully developed economy, boasting a modern and extensive infrastructure, a highly educated work force, and a prime geographic location. However, the levels of foreign investment remained under the capacity of the Slovenian economy, due in part to protectionist measures by the government. Corruption, although lower than in other Central and Eastern European countries, remains an issue that has to be addressed.
Slovenia's first social insurance programs were established in 1922, and were updated in 2003. The system provides old age, disability, survivor's pensions, sickness, work injury, and unemployment benefits. The pension system covers most employed persons. Funds are provided by employee and employer contributions, with any unforeseen deficit covered by the government. The government funds the total cost for some groups of insured including veterans. The age of retirement is variable, depending upon the numbers of years worked. A universal system of family allowances provides benefits to families with children with incomes below a specified monthly amount. There is a maternity grant available to all permanent residents in Slovakia to purchase clothing and other necessities for a newborn child.
Women and men have equal status under the law. Discrimination against women or minorities in housing, jobs, or other areas is illegal. Officially, both spouses are equal in marriage, and the constitution asserts the state's responsibility to protect the family. Women are well represented in business, academia, and government, although they still hold a disproportionate share of lower-paying jobs. On average, women earn less than men. Violence against women is underreported, but awareness has been increasing. There have been improved efforts to assist victims. The constitution provides for special protection for children.
The constitution ensures minority participation in government by mandating that Italian and Hungarian minorities each receive at least one representative in the National Assembly. The Roma population continues to experience discrimination. Human rights are generally respected by the government and upheld by the legal and judicial systems.
In 1992, health care reforms were adopted to modify the health care system in place when Slovenia was part of the former Communist country of Yugoslavia. Direct health care funding by the government was replaced by a mostly employer-funded system run in conjunction with a new system of compulsory public health insurance. However, Slovenia still provides universal, comprehensive health care to all its citizens and its health cares system remains fairly centralized. As of 2004, there were an estimated 219 physicians, 717 nurses, 59 dentists and 39 pharmacists per 100,000 people. In the same year, total health care expenditure was estimated at 7.6% of GDP. In 2002 Slovenia had 26 hospitals, which included nine regional facilities, three local general hospitals, and the country's main teaching hospital and tertiary care center, the Clinical Center in Ljubljana.
In 2000, each Slovenian woman had an average of 1.2 children during her childbearing years. An estimated 11 mothers died during childbirth or pregnancy for each 100,000 live births. The infant mortality rate, which was 15 deaths per 1,000 in 1980, dropped significantly by 2005 to only 4.45 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The immunization rates for a child under one were as follows: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 91%, and measles, 82%. The life expectancy at birth was 76.14 years by 2005.
The leading cause of death was cardiovascular disease, to which nearly half of all deaths were attributed. The other major causes of mortality, in order of prevalence, were cancer, injuries, poisoning, respiratory diseases, and diseases of the digestive system. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 9,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 500 deaths from AIDS in 2003.
According to the 2002 census, there were 777,772 dwelling units. About 92% of all dwellings were privately owned by a citizen and 82% of all dwellings were owner occupied. About 44% of all households were living in single-family detached homes and 52% of all dwellings were in urban areas. About 94,635 dwellings, or 12% of the housing stock, had been built since 1991. The average household had 2.8 people.
Since the 1991 Housing Act, the State is no longer directly responsible for housing provisions. Municipalities have responsibility for social housing projects. The State does, however, offer subsidized loans for the construction of individual private homes and nonprofit rental housing.
Between 1999 and 2009, Slovenia will be gradually replacing an eight-year basic schooling program with a nine-year program, which will contain three-cycles of three years each and cover primary and lower secondary studies. Upper secondary studies generally cover an additional three to four years with students given the options of attending general, technical, or vocational schools. The academic year runs from October to June.
In 2001, about 73% of children between the ages of three and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 93% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 93% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 95% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 13:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 14:1.
Higher education at public institutions is free for native, fulltime students and students from other European Union countries. Slovenia has 3 universities, 3 art academies or professional colleges, and 10 private higher education institutions. The University of Ljubljana, founded in 1919, has 25 faculties. The University of Maribor has a faculty for teaching, a faculty for economics and business, and a faculty for technology. There are also two colleges attached to it. In 2003, it was estimated that about 68% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs; 58% for men and 79% for women. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 99.7%.
As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.1% of GDP.
The National and University Library of Slovenia is located in Ljubljana and holds 2.3 million items. The University of Ljubljana maintains 39 faculty libraries. The University of Maribor Library maintains eight faculty libraries and serves as a legal depository for all Slovenica materials printed in the Slovene language. The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, also in the capital, holds 450,000 volumes. There are about 60 public library systems, with over 280 branch locations and nine mobile library services. One of the largest, the Oton Župančič Public Library in Ljubljana, maintains six locations and a mobile service. There are about 138 special libraries in the country, including the Slovene National Museum Library that holds about 200,000 printed materials.
Ljubljana hosts the National Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Architecture, National Museum of Slovenia, Slovene Sports Museum, and the Slovene Ethnographic Museum, among others. The Technology Museum of Slovenia is in Vrhnika. The National Liberation Museum is in Maribor, a city which also hosts several smaller art and history museums. The Slovene Religious Museum is in Gorica. There are dozens of other regional museums throughout the country, including several in restored historical houses and castles.
In 2003, there were an estimated 407 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 871 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.
In 2004, three of the six national television channels were operated by the government-subsidized RTV Slovenia network. Pop TV and Kanal A are the two main private network operators. Every major town has a radio station. RTV Slovenia operates three national radio stations and several regional ones. Radio Hit and Radio City are the two main private network operators. Minority language television and radio broadcasts were available. As of 2005, about two-thirds of all households were connected to satellite or cable television services. In 2003, there were an estimated 405 radios and 366 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 160.3 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 300.6 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 376 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 130 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.
As of 2002, there were four major independent daily and several weekly newspapers published. The dailies are Delo (2002 circulation of 90,000), Slovenske Novice (80,000), Dnevnik (62,000), and Vecer (70,000).
The constitution provides for free expression, including freedom of speech and the press; however, it is said that lingering self-censorship and some indirect political pressures do continue to influence the media.
The Slovenia Chamber of Commerce (Chamber of Economy of Slovenia) coordinates all economic activities within and outside the country. In the 1990s, two large associations of trade unions were formed: the Confederation of New Trade Unions of Slovenia and the Association of Independent Trade Unions. There are professional associations for the advancement of research and education in a variety of medical fields.
The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Arts was founded in 1938.
National youth organizations include the UN Student Club of Slovenia, the Catholic Student Movement of Slovenia, the Students Union of Slovenia, Girl Guides, and the Scout Association of Slovenia. There are sports associations promoting amateur competition among athletes of all ages; many of these groups are affiliated with international counterparts as well. Women's organizations include The Center for Gender and Politics at the Peace Institute and Soroptimist International.
International organizations with national chapters include Amnesty International, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, UNICEF, and the Red Cross.
The rich architecture, museums, caves, and springs are some of Slovenia's main tourist attractions. Health resorts are popular, many in the north where there are mineral and thermal springs. The 10 casinos also attract visitors each year, making entertainment a major part of the tourism industry. Slovenia has convention centers in Ljubljana and three other cities and international airports in Ljubljana, Maribor, and Portoroz. Popular recreational activities include skiing, snowboarding, tennis, golf, mountain climbing, canoeing, and fishing. Visitors from Europe and most other countries can enter Slovenia without visas.
In 2003, there were 1,052,847 tourist arrivals in Slovenia. Hotel rooms numbered 15,534 with 31,997 beds and a 47% occupancy rate. Tourism expenditure receipts totaled $1.4 billion.
According to 2005 US Department of State estimates, the daily cost of staying in Ljubljana was estimated at $217.
Milan Kučan (b.1941) was president from 1991–2002, when he was succeeded by Janez Drnovšek (b.1950), who had previously served as prime minister. In 1551, Primož Trubar translated the New Bible into Slovene. The poet, Valentin Vodnik (1754–1819), wrote poems in praise of Napoleon; literature in praise of the French flourished during the French occupation of Slovenia in 1813. Slovenian tennis star Mima Jausovec (b.1956) won the Italian Open in 1976 and the French Open in 1977.
Slovenia has no territories or colonies.
Benderly, Jill, and Evan Kraft, (eds.). Independent Slovenia: Origins, Movements, Prospects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Carmichael, Cathie. Slovenia. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio Press, 1996.
Fink-Hafner, Danica, and John R. Robbins, (eds.). Making a New Nation: The Formation of Slovenia. Brookfield, Vt.: Dartmouth Publishing Company, 1997.
Frucht, Richard (ed.). Eastern Europe: An Introduction to the People, Lands, and Culture. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2005.
Gottfried, Ted. Slovenia. New York: Benchmark Books, 2005.
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Plut-Pregelj, Leopoldina. Historical Dictionary of Slovenia. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996.
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"Slovenia." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
|Official Country Name:||Republic of Slovenia|
|Number of Primary Schools:||824|
|Compulsory Schooling:||8 years|
|Public Expenditure on Education:||5.7%|
|Foreign Students in National Universities:||425|
|Educational Enrollment:||Primary: 98,866|
|Educational Enrollment Rate:||Primary: 98%|
|Student-Teacher Ratio:||Primary: 14:1|
|Female Enrollment Rate:||Primary: 98%|
History & Background
The Republic of Slovenia (Republika Slovenije ) is situated in southeastern central Europe. With Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, and Croatia to the east and south, Slovenia has just 46.6 kilometers of coastline on the Adriatic Sea in the country's southwestern corner. The capital city, Ljubljana, sits directly in the middle of Slovenia. Measuring 20,253 square kilometers, Slovenia is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey. Most of Slovenia's terrain consists of mountains and valleys; many rivers flow through the eastern part of the country.
Slovenia's status as an independent country is a very recent phenomenon, excepting a brief period of independence more than a thousand years ago. In the late sixth century, Slavs moved into the valleys of the Sava, Drava, and Mura rivers in what is now Slovenia and, pressed by the Avars, spread to the Black Sea, Friuli plains, the Danube River, the Adriatic Sea, and Lake Balaton. During the seventh century, various Slavic tribes united, and by the mid-eighth century, the area was part of the Frankish empire with the Slavs converting to Christianity and losing their independence. An independent state of Slovenes in Lower Pannonia was established briefly in the late-ninth century for just five years. Meanwhile, use of the Slovene language increased, particularly in religious services, and the first records written in Slovene, the Freising Manuscripts, were produced. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, the Slovene regions came under the rule of the Habsburg monarchy.
In 1848 Slovene intellectuals published their first political program for a United Slovenia, but the Slovenes' liberation from Austro-Hungarian rule was not achieved until 1918 when the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was formed at the end of the World War I. During the World War II, Slovenes fighting the Nazis and the German, Italian, and Hungarian occupation of the region formed the Liberation Front (known as the "OF"). With the end of the war in Europe, Slovene became one of the six republics in the new Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia declared in November 1945.
As part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia experienced the nationalization of its businesses and industries and their placement under state control. Although Slovenia was relatively prosperous as a member of FPRY, by the 1980s the economy was deteriorating in Yugoslavia, and Slovenia suffered economic losses. A growing nationalist movement in Slovenia gained strength, and in a December 1990 referendum, 88.5 percent of the Slovenians who voted opted for independence. On June 25, 1991, the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia; two days later, the Yugoslav Army launched its attack against the newly independent country. Armed attacks only lasted about 10 days, however, as the peace agreement (the Brioni Declaration) signed on July 7, 1991, ended the Yugoslav Army's military campaign. By late October 1991, all Yugoslav soldiers had been pulled out of Slovenia; the next month, Slovenia published its "Law on Denationalisation" in the Official Gazette. The Slovene Constitution was adopted on December 23, 1991, and immediately came into force, confirming Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia.
In mid-January 1992 the European Union recognized Slovenia as a separate country, and Slovenia joined the United Nations in May 1992. The first elections in the country were held in December of that year. In May 1993 Slovenia became a member of the Council of Europe. By September 1994 Slovenia had joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which evolved into the World Trade Organization that December—with Slovenia as one of the founding members. In January 1996 Slovenia joined the Central European Free Trade Agreement. Five months later Slovenia signed an association agreement with the European Union granting Slovenia associate membership status, an agreement that came into effect in February 1999. June 1996 also saw Slovenia joining the Western European Union as an associate partner. On January 1, 1998, Slovenia became one of the nonpermanent members of the United Nations Security Council, further establishing itself as a European state actively participating in the international arena. All together, Slovenia belongs to about 40 international organizations as well as the main international financial institutions.
Nonetheless, the 1990s also marked a period of social unrest and political challenges for Slovenia. During the Balkans wars of the 1990s, thousands of refugees from neighboring countries poured into Slovenia, especially from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the autonomous province of Kosovo in southern Serbia. The movement of peoples in Slovenia due to the Balkans wars changed the numbers and proportions of ethnic groups living in the country to a significant extent, though the actual size of these changes had not yet been officially measured at the turn of the millennium. The 1991 census showed the ethnicity of Slovenia's population to be as follows: about 88 percent Slovene, 3 percent Croat, 2 percent Serb, about 1 percent Bosnian Muslim (Bosniac), and with less than 1 percent each of Hungarians, Italians, and other minorities, including Roma. About 71 percent of the population reportedly was Roman Catholic, 1 percent was Lutheran, 1 percent was Muslim, 4 percent was atheist, and 23 percent was other, including small proportions of other Protestant groups and Jews. About 91 percent of Slovenia's population spoke Slovenian in the early 1990s, whereas 6 percent spoke Serbo-Croatian and 3 percent spoke other languages, including Italian and Hungarian—the two principal other national minorities in the country whose languages were used in some of the country's schools.
The population of Slovenia, estimated at 1.9 million in July 2000, had a growth rate that year of only 0.12 percent. About 50.3 percent of the country's population lived in urban areas in 1999, when the population density was 98.7 persons per square kilometer. By 1999 nearly all Slovenes ages 15 and up were considered literate—about 99.7 percent of adult males and 99.6 percent of adult females. The total fertility rate in Slovenia in 2000 was 1.28 children born per woman. Approximately 16 percent of the country's population that year was 14-years-old or younger while 69 percent of the population was between 15 and 64 years of age and about 15 percent was 65 or older. At that time, Slovenia had an infant mortality rate of 4.56 per 1,000 live births and an under-fiveyears child mortality rate of 6 per 1,000 in 1999. The average life span of Slovenes in the year 2000 was 75.86 years (70.97 years for men and 78.97 years for women—a significant gender gap).
For centuries the economic base of the Slovenes was agriculture and forestry. However, during the twentieth century, especially during the years Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, the country's industrial output grew substantially, and Slovenia became heavily industrialized. In 1999 Slovenia's GDP was US$20.7 billion, and the annual growth rate was 4.9 percent of the GDP. That year agriculture contributed only about 3.7 percent of the GDP while 38.4 percent of GDP came from industry, and 57.8 percent was derived from services (all estimates value added). Slovenia's annual per-capita income (GNP per capita) was about US$9,890 in 1999, much better that the per-capita income of any of the other five states that once had belonged to socialist Yugoslavia. Foreign direct investment in Slovenia by the late 1990s was also quite good: US$181.2 million for 1999. The World Bank noted that "Slovenia enjoyed the highest standard of living among the Republics of Yugoslavia" and that in 1999 Slovenia was "the most prosperous country in Central and Eastern Europe." The unemployment rate in 1999 was 7.4 percent, although reportedly about twice that figure obtained unemployment benefits. In 1998 nearly 11 percent of the workforce was employed in agriculture, 39 percent in industry, and 50 percent in services. Slovenia received substantial assistance from the World Bank and other international donors during the 1990s to reform its economic structures in the direction of private ownership. In 1993 Slovenia became a member of the World Bank, and in July 1993 the Bank awarded Slovenia its first Bank loan, worth US$80 million, to help privatize the economy and restructure the financial sector. About US$128.4 million in Bank funds for four economic development and restructuring projects had been committed for Slovenia by April 2000. By May 2000 discussions already were underway to start the process of Slovenia's eventual graduation from the Bank, since the country's economic performance had significantly improved compared with what it had been in the 1980s and early 1990s, and its economy having turned in a positive direction in 1993.
Constitutional & Legal Foundations
Slovenia is a parliamentary, democratic republic established according to the Constitution of December 1991. The Slovenian legal system is based on a civil law code. All Slovenes, men and women alike, are eligible to vote at age 18; 16- and 17-year-olds also can vote if they are employed. Slovenia's chief of state is the president, who is democratically elected to five-year terms of office. Since April 1990, Milan Kučan has been president of Slovenia. The executive branch of the national government also includes a prime minister and Council of Ministers. The prime minister, Andrej Bajuk since the Fall 2000 election of the national parliament (National Assembly or Drzavni Zbor ), is the leader of the majority party or the winning majority coalition. He or she usually is nominated by the president to serve as prime minister and elected by the National Assembly. The Council of Ministers is nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly. The National Assembly is a unicameral legislature of 90 representatives elected to 4-year terms. The national legislative branch also includes the National Council (Drzavni Svet ), an advisory body of 40 representatives of local, socioeconomic, and professional interest groups; the representatives are elected to 5-year terms. The National Council has certain limited legislative powers in that it can propose laws and review the National Assembly's decisions. The third branch of Slovenia's national government is the judicial branch, consisting of a Supreme Court whose judges are elected by the National Assembly after being recommended by the Judicial Council and the Constitutional Court, whose judges serve 9 year terms, are elected by the National Assembly, and nominated by the president. Slovene local affairs are administered through a system of 136 municipalities (obcine ) and 11 urban municipalities (obcine mestne ).
Slovenia has a relatively positive reputation in terms of respect for international human rights. Elections have been free and fair, and the government operates by democratic systems, which allow multi-party competition, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. The judiciary operates independently of the executive branch, and a human rights ombudsman deals appropriately with alleged abuses. However, some problems do exist in terms of police brutality and other violence against Roma, discrimination against non-Slovene residents, and violence and discrimination against women. Trafficking in women also exists. Compared with the other countries of the former Yugoslavia, however, Slovenia stands in relatively good stead. This is acknowledged by the fact that Slovenia is expected to be one of the first of the transitional democracies in Eastern and Central Europe to accede to full membership in the European Union.
Concerning the basic philosophy of Slovenia's educational system, the 1995 "White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia" spelled out several key values and principles underpinning the educational reform efforts begun in the 1990s. In its December 2000 report on Slovenia's education system, the Ministry of Education and Sports reported these to be: "(1) accessibility and transparency of the public education system, (2) legal neutrality, (3) choice at all levels, (4) democracy, autonomy, and equal opportunities, and (5) quality of learning to take precedence over the accumulation of facts." The Ministry also pointed out that a "legislative framework for change" resulted from the "White Paper" with a series of laws passed between 1996 and 2000 that have provided specifications and support for reforms in the organization and funding of the education system from preschool through university levels; adult education; professional and academic titles; the establishment of school inspectorates; linkages between formal and informal education in the area of vocational training and certification; music schools; schools and classes for children with special needs; the promotion of computer literacy; textbook revisions and modern teaching methodology; foreign languages; school meals; and school construction. Among the most important education laws passed in the 1990s were the 1993 and 1999 Higher Education Acts, the 1996 Vocational and Technical Education Act, and the Act on the Provision of Funds for Urgent Education Development Programmes. The Constitution of 1991 contained elements related to education, specifying certain essential aspects of the education system such as the autonomy of state universities and other institutions of higher learning and the basis of the state's obligation to financially support higher education.
The legislative reforms of the 1990s prompted by the 1995 "White Paper" were directed toward achieving the following objectives, according to the Ministry: making more educational opportunities available to all persons with special needs and improving the mainstreaming of special learners; widening the variety of preschool education, methods of teaching, and approaches to learning at all levels; facilitating transfers across different categories of education and making full- and part-time studies more accessible; increasing the number of adult learners and making adults more functionally and culturally literate; providing for greater educational opportunities for the socially disadvantaged; ensuring gender equity in education; establishing a higher education system more like that existing in other European countries and coordinating the system with European developments; promoting quality; and strengthening post-graduate studies, the links between teaching and research, and connections among higher education institutions, industry, local communities, and the public. Methods for monitoring the implementation of educational reforms also were developed in 1999 so that education authorities could assess the degree and quality of educational improvements being made in the country. The Phare program of the European Union also has provided assistance in this area.
Slovenia has a relatively well-educated populace, and the education system is undergoing reform to bring it in line with the style, quality, and content of education and training provided by the European Union member states. As of the year 2000, more than 50 percent of the population aged 15 or older in Slovenia had graduated at least from upper-secondary school programs. Of those aged 19 to 29, less than 20 percent had not completed upper-secondary education. In 1999 some 21.3 percent of the economically active population in Slovenia had completed only basic education or had no formal education, while 78.7 percent of the active population had finished at least upper-secondary schooling. Over time, the proportion of the population enrolled in school programming has increased, although Slovenia's low birthrate means that incoming classes of preschoolers and children in the first few grades are smaller than in the recent past. Furthermore, compared with the European Union countries, Slovenia has very favorable teacher to student ratios. With the exception of postsecondary and higher education levels, schools in Slovenia experienced increasingly smaller class sizes during the 1990s and early twenty-first century. This has generally been seen as positive for student learning. Finally, progression rates from one level of education to another have increased over time in Slovenia, meaning that students are continuing on for more education than they had in the past.
In the 1999-2000 academic year, 185,554 pupils and students were enrolled in basic education in Slovenia. Through a gradual phasing-in process, children and youth between the ages of 6 and 15 are now required to attend 9 years of compulsory basic education, an increase from the previous 8 years of compulsory schooling. These first nine years cover primary and lower-secondary education levels, which are divided into three stages. The first stage of three years includes classes where pupils receive only descriptive grades; in the second three-year stage, pupils receive a combination of numerical grades and descriptive grades. By the final three years of basic education, only numerical grades are given. (The earlier system, reformed in the late 1990s, included two sets of four grades with children starting school at age seven and attending an optional year of preschool at age six.) An optional tenth year of basic schooling in preparation for passing the external knowledge portions of the exam required to enter upper-secondary schooling was added as part of Slovenia's newly revised educational programming. The language of instruction in Slovenia's elementary and secondary schools is generally Slovene, although Italian and Hungarian also are offered as languages of instruction for the Italian and Hungarian minorities in the two bilingual areas of the country.
Upper secondary education in Slovenia comes essentially in three different versions: four years of general secondary education in gimnazije, which provide general and classical education programs in preparation for tertiary studies (or for a vocational course in preparation for entering the labor market); four years of technical secondary education leading ultimately to professions in engineering and other fields, where technical graduates go on to tertiary studies in vocational and professional colleges; and two and a half or three years of vocational education in various forms, including combined classroom learning and on the job training and apprenticeships. Three-year vocational training programs can be followed by a two-year vocational-technical program, direct experience in the labor market, or at least three years of work experience followed by examinations to qualify students as a master craftsman, foreman, or shop manager and, consequently, the same level of recognition as students passing a four-year technical training exam. Those who finish examinations in general subject areas can qualify for tertiary studies in vocational education as well. In general, the education reforms implemented in the second half of the 1990s increased the availability and flexibility of education and training programs for students, making it possible for those who took vocational courses to transfer into technical programs and for others to shift out of a general education track into a more practical, work-oriented one.
Tertiary education in Slovenia includes academic higher education (lasting from four to six years), professionally oriented higher education (lasting three to four years), and vocational education at the postsecondary level (lasting two years). Additionally, post-graduate education in specialized studies or at the magisterij or doctoral level is available to graduates of the academic and professional higher education programs. These advanced programs typically take one or two years for specialized studies, two years for magisterij programs and four years for the doctoral programs.
Children and youth with special needs have received significant attention by Slovenia's educational administrators and teachers. Special development classes are provided for children ages three and over who have severe mental and physical disabilities. Modified curricula in elementary schools address the basic educational needs of pupils with minor mental disabilities, and moderately or severely impaired children are taught in special classes in elementary schools, after which they can find jobs in special centers. Mainstreamed classes for special needs students are provided through secondary schools and special schools in lower and upper secondary level vocational education and training. Special schools also exist for the more severely affected students who cannot function as well in the types of mainstreamed programs provided through regular schools. Students with learning difficulties may attend regular school programs and receive additional individual and group assistance of various types, integrated with their mainstreamed programming. Schools in hospitals also exist, providing children who are hospitalized for long periods of time with educational opportunities. A new special education law passed in 2000 outlined the rules for placing children with special needs in the most appropriate school programs with special committees established to assist in this process. Individualized education plans are highlighted in this law, which likewise facilitates the transferring of children between programs to ensure the best placements possible by increasing the monitoring of student placements and progress. Parents are now included to a larger extent in the planning and implementation of educational programs for special needs children and youth. In 1999-2000 Slovenia's special needs student population included 443 preschoolers enrolled in preschool institutions, a total of 2,796 students following modified curricula in elementary schools, and 2,003 students enrolled in special education institutions and in elementary schools offering special training in job skills. In 1997-1998 special needs students enrolled in modified curricula programs in secondary schools numbered 563. In the mid-1990s more than 3,000 teachers provided education to special needs students in Slovenia.
Additional educational programming is provided by some of the nongovernmental organizations operating in the country, many of them linked to the European Union and to initiatives designed to promote democratization in Central and Eastern Europe. For example, the Open Society Institute, funded by the Soros Foundation, has operated a "Step by Step Program" since 1995 that encourages parents and community members to become more involved in the education of preschoolers and elementary-age students. Among the goals it promotes, "Step by Step" encourages creativity and problem-solving in children, parental involvement in educational decisionmaking, and better learning opportunities for impoverished children, children with disabilities, children of minorities such as the Roma, and refugees living in Slovenia.
Preprimary & Primary
Preschool education in Slovenia is optional, although the age level for entering compulsory education recently shifted downward from seven years of age to six years. In the 1999-2000 school year, 64,151 children between the ages of 1 and 6 were enrolled in preschool programs—3,523 classes provided through a total of 808 institutions (either separate preschools or units within elementary schools). Taught by a teaching staff of 7,148, these children attended mainly publicly supported programs, but some attended secular or religious (mainly Catholic) private preschools. Nearly 60 percent of children between the ages of 1 and 6 attended preschool institutions in the late 1990s.
Children between the ages of 6 and 15 are enrolled in basic education. In 1995 the gross enrollment rate for basic education was 97 percent. By the late 1990s almost 98 percent of pupils successfully completed their basic education, and nearly all the basic education graduates went on to upper-secondary studies. In 1999-2000, approximately 185,554 pupils and students were enrolled in compulsory education, attending 816 elementary schools and distributed across 9,106 classes. At the close of the 1998-1999 school year, 15,140 teachers taught children enrolled in the basic education grades. The average class size for elementary schools covering the first 8 grades (9 grades, in the new system) in the year 2000 was 15 to 20 students. This was significantly lower than the European Union's maximum of 35 and lower than Slovenia's own maximum of 28. At the turn of the millennium the pupil to teacher ratio in Slovenian elementary schools was 12.4:1.
Students who complete the required basic education (previously eight years, but as of the early 2000 decade, nine years) take external examinations to progress on to the upper-secondary level. With the new education reforms of the nine year basic education divided into three cycles of three years each, students will be taking statewide examinations at the end of each of the cycles. The grades from these examinations after the first and second cycles will only be used to provide feedback to the students, their parents, and teachers. Grades from the third cycle exams will be used to determine whether or not pupils are ready for the next higher level of schooling.
Until the late 1990s, upper-secondary schools in Slovenia focused on integrated programs of vocational training and general education, designed to prepare students for both the labor market and higher education programs. With the education reforms at the end of the 1990s, Slovenia's education system now includes a variety of educational programs at the upper-secondary level with contrasting goals: shorter vocational training programs of two and a half to three years leading directly to employment after graduation and extended, four year training programs characterized by mainly general studies or by technical or vocational orientations. Gimnazija programs were reintroduced in the mid-1990s to offer students general and classical coursework as preparation for tertiary studies, and later in the decade more professionally oriented gimnazija programs were added to prepare students for careers in engineering, business, and the arts. Gimnazija programs culminate in the matura examination in five subjects, that was introduced in 1995 to replace the final examinations previously administered to graduating students. The gross enrollment rate for general secondary education was 21 percent in 1996. The new matura examination also serves as the entrance examination to higher education. Gimnazija students who do not wish to continue their education after completing upper-secondary schooling can take a vocational course and obtain qualifications in specific occupational fields. Four-year technical studies programs at the upper-secondary level are also possible, preparing students for vocational and professional colleges. After taking their final examination, or more recently the poklicna matura examination, students can proceed directly into postsecondary vocational and professional training from technical study programs at the secondary level. Graduates of secondary level technical programs can also take a special matura course to prepare for the regular matura examination that qualifies them for tertiary studies in any academic field.
With the education legislation passed at the end of the 1990s, vocational training programs were enhanced by better partnerships between vocational training institutions on the one hand and business and industry on the other. Short term vocational programs were established for elementary school graduates and for students with special needs and/or those failing to have completed basic education (i.e., the first eight or nine years of schooling) successfully. These training programs reinforce earlier training in general studies provided by elementary schools and also introduce general and vocational knowledge and skills to enable students to secure simple jobs. Passing the examination at the conclusion of the short-term vocational programs allows students to enter the job market or to proceed on to other secondary school programs. Those students who complete elementary schooling can enroll in vocational training lasting three years through vocational schools or in cooperation with employers through a work-study arrangement involving school-based education coupled with apprenticeship. The three-year vocational training programs typically finish with a final examination. The successful passing of this examination qualifies students to enter the labor market or to go on to two-year vocational-technical programs that culminate in the poklicna matura examination, the examination administered to students who go through upper-secondary level, technical-training programs. Additionally, graduates of the three year vocational programs can work for at least three years and then take an examination to qualify for postsecondary studies.
In the 1999-2000 school year, 105,455 secondary students were enrolled in 147 secondary schools—142 publicly funded and 5 private gimnazije. Of all secondary students, 30,608 were enrolled in vocational programs, 43,303 were enrolled in technical programs, and 97 took vocational courses, while 31,265 followed gimnazije programs and 182 were enrolled in the course preparing them for the matura examination. (Counts include full-time students and students with special needs.) The student to teacher ratio at the secondary level at the end of the 1990s was 12.1:1, an improvement over the comparable figure of 14.2:1 at the beginning of the decade.
Several forms of higher education exist in Slovenia with the number of choices increased by the education reforms made in the late 1990s. In 1996-1997 postsecondary vocational colleges (višje strokovne šole ) were added, linking education and work experiences more closely with much of the training provided by private companies. Training in these colleges lasts for two years and ends with a diploma examination and the title of the vocational area in which the student is qualified, enabling the graduate to begin work in a specific occupation. Starting with the 1998-1999 academic year, graduates of this form of training were also allowed to enter certain professionally oriented programs in higher education schools, depending on the decision of the latter institutions. In 1999-2000 Slovenia had 9 postsecondary vocational colleges—7 public and 2 private—serving a total of 2,447 students, of whom 1,189 were youth and 1,258 were adults.
Additional forms of higher education in Slovenia are provided through faculties and art academies belonging to universities, stand-alone faculties established as private institutions offering both professional and more academic study programs, and professional colleges offering only professional training. Slovenia had two public universities at the turn of the millennium, the University of Ljubljana and the University of Maribor, which together encompassed a broad range of faculties, academies, and colleges. The private colleges included schools for undergraduate and post-graduate study in such areas as environmental sciences, the humanities, business, and the arts, among others. A dual system was developed in the late 1990s whereby certain higher education programs trained students for specific professions and other programs give students more general preparation for further professional studies or for advanced academic studies and research. Higher education is divided into undergraduate studies, whose graduates receive a diploma and the first degree title, and post-graduate studies, leading to a second degree title, the title of specialist, the academic title of magister znanosti or magister umetnosti (equivalent to a Master's degree), or doctor znanosti (equivalent to a Ph.D. degree).
In the 1999-2000 academic year, 46 higher education institutions (39 public and 7 private) provided the above types of professional and academic training to a full range of tertiary students: 77,609 undergraduates (54,605 full-time and 23,004 part-time); 478 students in short, first degree university programs (169 full-time and 309 part-time); 35,145 students in professional programs (18,320 full-time and 16,825 part-time); and 41,986 students in academic programs (36,116 full-time and 5,870 part-time). At the post-graduate level, 3,006 students were studying in programs leading either to the magisterij degree or to the specializacija degree. (Figures were unavailable for students enrolled in doctoral-level programs.) Academic staff and support staff in higher education institutions in the 1999-2000 academic year, counted as full time equivalents (FTEs), numbered 3,682: 1,849 teachers, 1,818 assistants, and 15 researchers. The student to teacher ratio for higher education at the end of the 1990s was 15.8:1, which is slightly higher than the figure of 13.7:1 at the start of the decade, due to increasing numbers of students at the tertiary level without an equivalent rise in the number of teaching staff. However, the graduation rate of students entering tertiary studies has improved, since a greater proportion of students entering higher education programs actually graduate than was true in the past. Foreign students are welcome to study in Slovenia but must be competent in the Slovene language. A year-long preparatory program in Slovene is thus provided for international students intending to study in Slovenia who lack the necessary language skills upon arrival. Of the number of seats allocated for public higher education in Slovenia each year, an additional 5 percent are allocated for foreign students, which is generally sufficient to accommodate the number of non-Slovene students interested in pursuing tertiary education in Slovenia. A variety of educational exchange programs operate between Slovenia and the European Union member states and other countries, based on a number of agreements made between Slovenia and other states from the 1970s on. Substantial information is provided via Slovenian websites on the Internet to educate international students about educational opportunities and exchanges with Slovenian institutions of higher education.
Administration, Finance, & Educational Research
Responsibility for educational administration in Slovenia rests primarily with the Ministry of Education and Sports. The Ministry drafts national policies on education, science, and sport; plans for the structuring and funding of educational institutions; manages public educational institutions; inspects schools; and administers financial aid. The Ministry also prepares legislation regarding education, science, and sport and must implement the laws and administrative regulations pertaining to these areas. The scope of the Ministry's tasks includes not only all levels of education within Slovenia but also the education of ethnic and national minorities such as the Roma, Italians, and Hungarians living in Slovenia and the education of the Slovenian minorities living in Austria, Hungary, and Italy. Educating special needs children and youth within Slovenia and providing supplementary courses worldwide in the Slovene language and culture also fall within the realm of the Ministry, as do initial and in-service training programs for Slovenia's teachers. In addition to the Ministry of Education and Sport, the Ministry of Science and Technology plays a significant role in developing and implementing international cooperation and exchange programs involving higher education institutions. The Ministry of Health, Families, and Welfare arranges specialized training in medicine for medical students in Slovenia, placing students in training programs connecting university institutions and clinics.
Various government councils also have been created to oversee the development of plans for education reforms in specific areas. For example, the National Curriculum Council with its associated subject-oriented committees was charged with developing new curricula for use in Slovenia's schools until the late 1990s when it was replaced by Councils of Experts for general, vocational and technical, and adult education, who adopted new curricula in line with the education reforms being made. The new curricula reflected a non-ideological (i.e., non-socialist) approach in presenting course content, and pedagogical emphasis was placed on developing learning and problem-solving skills in students instead of on rote memorization. Teaching students how to learn moved to the forefront, replacing earlier emphases on the teaching of specific content. The Council for Higher Education provides the government with advice on legislation pertaining to higher education and helps plan and implement higher education policies. Facilitating cooperation among various higher education institutions is also the responsibility of this council. The Association of Rectors of Slovenia and the Council for Science and Technology are two other significant bodies charged with educational planning and oversight. The EU Programmes Agency in Ljubljana and the Office of International Relations of the Ministry of Education and Sport promote cooperation with higher education programs and institutions in the European Union member states and other parts of the world. Associations of teachers and students are also increasingly active in Slovenia. The Slovenian Student Union is the principal national student association, headquartered in Ljubljana. Various student associations attached to the universities also exist, as well as a new Disabled Student Association. The Slovenian Society of Teachers is the principal professional association for educators in the country.
Financing education is one of the chief responsibilities of the government of the Republic of Slovenia. In 1995 about 12.6 percent of public spending and 5.8 percent of Slovenia's GNP was dedicated to education. The same year, 16.9 percent of the public funds expended on education supported higher education, and the amount spent on each tertiary student was equivalent to 38.0 percent of the GNP per capita. Basic and secondary education are free in Slovenia. Costs for attending public universities are more reasonable, on the whole, than in the European Union member states. Tuition in the late 1990s, for example, was generally less than US$1,500 per year in the social sciences and humanities and less than US$2,000 for other disciplines at the undergraduate level. For Master's and specialist programs, tuition costs were up to US$2,250 in the social sciences and humanities and US$3,000 in other disciplines. At the doctoral level, a year's tuition in the social sciences and humanities ranged up to US$2,250 for students who had already completed a Master's program or specialist degree studies and US$4,500 for those who had not; in other disciplines the comparable figures ranged up to US$3,000 and US$6,000, depending on the discipline (social sciences and humanities versus other disciplines).
Administrative responsibility for educational research in Slovenia also falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education and Sport. Educational research is conducted in conjunction with the regular activities of the teacher-training institutes in the higher education system as well as by a special government council, the Ministry of Education and Sport, and the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia.
Opportunities for adult education in Slovenia are abundant and varied, although efforts to improve access for all adults to further training are continuing. During the 1990s significant attention was placed on increasing programs for adults at all educational levels—basic education, upper-secondary levels, and higher education. An adult education master plan for the 10-year period lasting until 2010 was to be adopted by the National Assembly in 2001, outlining the main strategy and goals for adult education in the country. A wide variety of schools and institutions have offered educational programming to adults, and the number of offerings has increased over time, particularly after Slovenia moved to privatize industry and enterprises.
Traditionally, adult education has been provided through peoples' universities (ljudska univerza ); in addition, schools and higher education institutions catering to youth also include courses for adults, which have been adapted to the needs and learning styles of more mature learners. Both day and evening courses and programs are available, including apprenticeship training, through full time and part time schedules, covering academic subjects as well as professional, vocational, and in-service training. Post-graduate studies are also available to adult learners in Slovenia. Private companies and various interest organizations also offer educational programming for adults. The Slovenian Institute for Adult Education has supported projects involving independently run learning centers, opportunities for educational exchanges, study circles, multimedia-supported learning, and distance education. Trade unions also design programs to prepare employees for retirement. The Slovene Society of Teachers and the University of Ljubljana's Faculty of Arts together established the "Third Age University" in 1986 to give senior members of Slovene society the opportunity to take part in learning activities as well.
During 1998-1999 the Ministry of Labour, Family, and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Education and Sport jointly initiated "Programme 5000" to provide education and career support to the unemployed. In 1999 more than 23,000 unemployed adults took part in the various offerings of this special, publicly supported program. A new law passed in 2000 has established a nonformal certification system through which vocationrelated knowledge can be assessed and verified, qualifying adults for new types of work or for additional training in already developed occupational skills.
Distance education has increasingly drawn attention from educational administrators and instructors in Slovenia. As the country becomes more technologically advanced and interacts increasingly with the European Union's member states, advances in educational technology are also being made and integrated with learning programs. At the University of Maribor, the Faculty of Economics offers distance-learning programs that culminate in a higher education diploma. Concerning the level of information technology in Slovenia, in 1999 there were 251.4 personal computers for every 1,000 people in the country—roughly 1 computer for every 4 persons. The same year, Slovenia had 7 Internet service providers and 99.1 Internet hosts were available for every 10,000 people. More traditional forms of technology are also readily accessible for educational purposes. In 1997 there were 805,000 radios and 710,000 televisions in Slovenia, a country whose population was less than two million. Roughly speaking, this meant that one radio was available for every two and a half persons and one television was available for every three people.
In Slovenia basic education teachers are trained primarily in four-year programs in Faculties of Education, with an additional year of absolventski staž provided to allow students to complete their academic requirements, write their diploma thesis, and prepare for the defense of their thesis. Secondary school teachers are also trained in Faculties of Education and in other faculties as well. Their programs likewise last four or four and a half years, plus a year of absolventski staž. Professional examinations for teacher certification follow the training programs of both basic and secondary level teachers. Additionally, secondary level teachers can also be prepared by completing higher education programs and working for three years. They then follow a special credentialing course that qualifies them to teach in secondary schools. The teaching staff at vocational colleges are called "vocational college lecturers" (višji predavatelji ) and must complete undergraduate studies, pedagogical qualification, and three years of relevant work experience, plus have achieved special competence in their professional fields. Higher education faculty are prepared through doctoral training programs in the various disciplines in which they eventually will teach.
The education system of the Republic of Slovenia is impressive indeed. While the country continues to undergo the difficult process of transitioning from a socialist, state-controlled economy and centralized government to a more democratically functioning, market-oriented state, the educational infrastructure has been quite thoroughly reformed and modernized since the mid-1990s. As a consequence, Slovenia's education system today resembles the educational systems of Western Europe much more closely than it resembles the education systems in the other formerly socialist states once belonging to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Having separated out earlier from Yugoslavia when its national economy was stronger than that of the other republics, Slovenia nevertheless experienced some of the social upheaval associated with the Balkans wars of the 1990s due to the inflow of significant refugee streams as the region shattered. However, because the war itself directly reached Slovenia for only a very brief period in 1991, Slovenia was spared much of the suffering incurred by the other states in the region and has managed to pull together its newly democratizing and liberalizing political and economic structures more rapidly and with greater success than other countries in the region. Slovenia clearly places a high value on education and has made substantial strides toward improving educational offerings at all levels, from preschool through adult education. The key challenge now appears to be meeting the needs of the newly restructured labor market and the decentralized and privatized economy while the banking system is still in the process of restructuring itself. By developing education and training programs that are more responsive to market needs, Slovenia is bound to find itself on the cusp of educational and economic progress in the Central and Eastern European region during the first few years of the twenty-first century. Continuing to involve itself in educational exchanges and cooperative ventures with the member states of the European Union and with other countries undoubtedly will benefit Slovenia over the next several years as growing numbers of Slovenian citizens and nationals seek to prepare themselves for the increasingly diverse and rich social and economic opportunities available to them, both in Slovenia and abroad.
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—Barbara Lakeberg Dridi
"Slovenia." World Education Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
Republic of Slovenia
Maribor, Rogaška Slatina
This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Slovenia. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.
The Republic of Slovenia is one of the youngest countries in central Europe. With 2 million inhabitants in a country about the size of Israel, Slovenia is strategically located at the crossroads between western and central Europe from west to east, and between central Europe and the Balkans from north to south.
Although the Slovene people have occupied their lands for over a thousand years, they have always been dominated and ruled by foreigners. Most notably, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled these lands for centuries and had the greatest impact on the shaping of Slovene culture and character. From 1918 to 1941, Slovenia joined its Slavic cousins Croatia and Serbia to form the new state, the Kingdom of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs, which eventually transformed into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia under the reign of a Serbian monarch. With the onset of World War II, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia collapsed and the Axis Powers of Germany and Italy divided and occupied Slovenia until 1945. After World War II, Marshal Tito and his Communist partisans firmly took control of Yugoslavia until its final disintegration in 1991.
Slovenia's road to democracy and independence was neither easy nor without risk. In September 1989, the General Assembly of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia boldly adopted an amendment to its constitution that gave the people of Slovenia the right to secede from Yugoslavia. In April 1990, parliamentary elections were held and a new anticommunist coalition, DEMOS, obtained a majority in Parliament. Milan Kucan was elected as President of the four-member Presidency of Slovenia. Then, on December 23, 1990, more than 88% of the electorate voted for independence. With this public mandate, on June 25, 1991, the Slovenian Parliament adopted a new constitutional charter on sovereignty and declared independence from Yugoslavia. (The Republics of Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia followed suit.) In response to Slovenia's declaration, the Yugoslav Government ordered its army to secure and seal the Slovene borders. However, after 10 days of hostilities and confrontations, Slovenia successfully defended its territory and the Yugoslav army withdrew.
Once its independence and sovereignty were secure, Slovenia began a diplomatic campaign to gain international recognition. The United States officially recognized Slovenia on April 7, 1992, and Slovenia became a member of the United Nations on May 22, 1992. A year later, Slovenia became a member of the Council of Europe. Currently, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Slovenia is also aggressively pursuing NATO membership and has concluded an Association Agreement with the European Union in 1997. The EU invited Slovenia to negotiate on full EU membership, which will likely become a reality early in the new century.
A visit to the American Embassy in Ljubljana will not only expose you to the rich cultural history and charm of this Alpine people, but will bring you to the center of a middle-income country rapidly converging with the rest of Europe.
Slovenia was one of the inner provinces of the Hapsburg Empire until the demise of Austria-Hungary at the end of World War I. A major earthquake destroyed most of the buildings in the city around the turn of the century, so many public and private buildings in the city center are done in the secession style of the late imperial period. Together with the medieval castle on the hill and the Ljubljanica River which meanders through the old town, the Slovenian capital has a distinct Old World flavor.
Ljubljana and its outlying suburbs number nearly 300,000 inhabitants. The city has doubled in size since World War II, yet has benefited from a planning policy that encouraged industrial development in other parts of the Republic.
As the center of a small republic which places a high value on its culture, Ljubljana is home to a more intense cultural life than its size would suggest. In addition to several museums and theaters, the city has its own opera and ballet, two symphony orchestras, a cinema society, and writers club. Yet, because of the beauty of the Slovenian countryside and the proximity of the Adriatic coast and surrounding mountains, inhabitants frequently go out of town on weekends, often taking advantage of their easy access to Italy and Austria. Most Slovenians are deeply attached to the countryside, and skis and walking boots are a common sight on the
The electricity supply is 220v, 50 cycles. Appliances rated for 110v or 120v at a maximum charge rate of 10 amperes (about 1,000 watts) may be operated by using a stepdown transformer of 220v to 110v connected to each outlet. Voltage stabilizers are not usually required for sensitive electronic equipment.
The Slovene market provides exceptional quality foods. There are no food shortages. There are several food stores/supermarkets where many imported food items such as Uncle Ben's Rice, Corn Flakes, and peanut butter are available, with new items being added to the shelves periodically. Open markets offer plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The variety of fresh fruits and vegetables may be limited during winter months, but summer months offer greater variety at reasonable prices. Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and fish are available as are canned, frozen and a wide variety of baby food. Prices are typically higher than in the U.S. Cleaning supplies are plentiful but more expensive than in the U.S.
Slovene beer and wine are very good and not expensive. Slovenia is filled with vineyards of high quality and variety. Vodka, scotch, gin, and other liquors are available but are expensive.
Good quality clothing is available, but the prices are high compared to U.S. prices. Limited items can be purchased at the military exchange stores in Italy. Prices and products on the Italian and Austrian economy are also higher than in the U.S.
In general, a wardrobe suitable for Northeastern U.S. weather should be satisfactory. Boots, heavy winter coats, raincoats, and umbrellas are a must throughout fall and winter months. Light summer clothing is needed for July and August, with light sweaters, suits, light raincoats required for spring and early summer.
Supplies and Services
Basic toiletries, cosmetics, tobacco products, medicines, and household supplies are available either from local stores, duty-free shops, or through mail order. Local stores sell mainly European brands.
Ljubljana has good, reasonably priced tailors and dressmakers. Local drycleaning and shoe repair services are also available. There are several excellent beauty and barbershops which provide service at prices comparable to those in the U.S.
Repair facilities for many makes of newer automobiles, audio and video equipment, and household appliances are available.
Part-time domestic help can be hired at an hourly rate of approximately $5.00. Transportation is also paid by the employer. It is not easy to find qualified people for these jobs since Slovenes consider domestic work to be part of the family responsibility. Most domestic helpers tend to be refugees or immigrants from other countries. There is no requirement to pay Social Security Tax for part time domestic employees.
Ljubljana's churches are all Roman Catholic, except for one Eastern Orthodox church and one Protestant church. Catholic services in English or French are held Sundays at 11 am at the Franciscan Church in Ljubljana. The rabbi from Zagreb holds occasional services for the tiny Jewish community in Ljubljana since there are no functioning synagogues in the country now.
Ljubljana has a private school founded by Quality Schools International (QSI) and a Slovene International School sponsored by the Ministry of Education. Instruction in both schools is in English. QSI opened a school in Ljubljana providing an American curriculum for children ages 4 to 13 in September 1995. Students who attend the QSI will easily reenter the U.S. school system. There are plans to establish a half-day program for 3-year old children in the near future. School bus transportation is not offered by any of the schools. Correspondence courses for high school classes are available at QSI through the University of Nebraska. The Slovene International School curriculum leads to a baccalaureate degree. They have 70 students in their Danila Kumar elementary school, and 50 in their Gimnazija Bezigrad (high school). Their nursery program accepts only 15 children aged 3 and above. The French school in Ljubljana accepts students aged 3-16. With the exception of preschoolers, students are expected to speak French fluently to enter their program. Slovenian Childcare Centers accept foreign children for their full-day preschools, however, instructions are entirely in Slovene.
Special Educational Opportunities
The University of Ljubljana accepts enrollment of foreign students. Before being admitted into a special field of study, students must take an intensive year-long Slovene language course. Private instruction in art, music and Slovene language can be arranged.
None of the schools that offer instruction in English can accommodate students with special education needs. Physical access to schools is also difficult for students with disabilities. Building codes to not reflect U.S. standards.
Slovenians are very active in all forms of sports. There are several well-equipped sports centers, many health spas, tennis courts, swimming pools and bowling alleys throughout the country. Membership dues to these facilities are reasonable. Spectator sports like ice hockey, basketball and soccer are also available. Sporting equipment can be purchased locally or through the exchange stores in Italy.
Touring and Outdoor Activities
Ljubljana is a skier's paradise with almost four dozen ski resorts nearby. Mountain and hill climbing are popularly supported through associations. The seaside is only a 2-hour drive from Ljubljana. Swimming is also popular in the Bled and Bohinj lakes and Krka and Kolpa rivers. Hiking and climbing are excellent both summer and winter. Boating and windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, and rafting are among the most popular sports. Lake and river fishing and hunting are excellent, but licenses are very expensive compared to U.S. prices. Cycling is a favorite sport among all ages. A 27-hole course at Bled, an 18-hole course at Mokrice, a 9-hole course in Lipica, and a new layout in Rogaska Slatina offer their services to golfers.
Ljubljana enjoys a very rich cultural life. It is blessed with a graceful Opera House which was opened in 1892 as the Provincial Theater, as well as with several concert halls and theaters throughout the city. Nearly 800 cultural events a year take place at Cankarjev Dom, the national theater center composed of excellent acoustics. Although performances by Slovenians are most prominent, there are guest performances by philharmonic orchestras from various European capitals and from the U.S. There are several movie theaters where the majority of films are shown with their original sound track and Slovene subtitles. Ljubljana also houses excellent music clubs for jazz, rock, and pop music. Discos, bars, and pubs add to the entertainment scene of Ljubljana. Several Slovenian TV channels show American movies and TV shows in English.
The International Summer Festival of music, theater and dance, held principally at the open-air theater of the Krizanke, runs from mid-July through August.
As a university town, there is a lively student community, and a multitude of bars and discos that cater to young people. Nightlife is very active during the university terms, and young people can be found gathering until the wee hours on most weekends.
Ljubljana has many museums, including a National Gallery of Art. There are numerous smaller art galleries throughout the city, displaying the works of Slovene artists, along with guest artists from various countries.
In the countryside, restaurants were traditionally part of an inn, called a gostilna. Families would gather at these charming gostilnas for long meals, generally heavier than Americans are accustomed to (schnitzel, sausage, and potatoes). Now there are restaurants scattered throughout the city, including Italian, Chinese, and Mexican. There are many pizza parlors and several McDonald's restaurants. Ljubljana boasts the world's largest Dairy Queen, right in the center of town.
Social life among Americans is informal. Since distances are so short to various attractive spots within and outside of Slovenia, most people take advantage of the weekend to travel. Slovenians are friendly and informal in their social dealings. Entertainment at home is not very common within the Slovenian community, hence most entertainment hosted by the Slovenians takes place in restaurants.
There is a Slovenian International Ladies Association, SILA, which was established in 1993 for the purpose of encouraging social, cultural and educational exchange. Membership is open to all Slovene and foreign women for a small fee. SILA organizes regular meetings, trips, lectures, cultural events, sports activities, language classes, cooking lessons, an annual ball during February and the annual charity bazaar during November.
Set between the Pohorje and Slovenske Gorice Mountains in the far northwest, MARIBOR (in German, Marburg) is one of Slovenia's foremost resort areas. The principal political hub of northern Slovenia, Maribor is also a major industrial center. Heavy industry provides the economic mainstay for the region, especially engineering and aluminum industries, and motor vehicle assembly. In addition, this is the heart of a productive agricultural district that cultivates apples and grapes. History here can be traced to a Roman settlement, while the town itself began in the mid-12th century. It was known as a base of German culture, as well as a Christian bulwark. Completion of the Vienna-Trieste railway in the 1840s was a tremendous stimulus for growth. The area was stifled by Germanization during World War II; Yugoslav partisans liberated Maribor in 1945. Notable for tourists are the 12th-century cathedral, St. Madeline Church, and a monument recalling the plague of 1680. Maribor has a recently opened university. The city's population is about 108,000. Nearby is the historical village of Ptuj. Mariborsko Pohorje is a popular ski resort.
ROGAŠKA SLATINA is best known as Slovenia's oldest and largest spa town, offering plenty to do and see for the history buff as well as the health seeker. Rogaška Slatina has been inhabited since Roman times. The first written mention of the spring, on which the spa was built, is in a manuscript dated 1141. Legend says that the magnesium-rich Slatina spring was discovered by the winged horse Pegasus, who was sent by Apollo to drink there. The spring became famous at around 1665 when a feudal lord, the Croat Peter Zrinjski, was said to have received miraculous healing from the waters. By the turn of the 18th century, 20,000 bottles of Slatina spring water were being sold in Vienna.
Today, the Rogaška Health Resort is considered to by one of the top centers of its kind in the world. Visitors can enjoy a number of traditional and holistic healing treatments, preventative or curative, that cover conditions in all fields of medicine, including gastroenterology, cardiology, dermatology, gynecology, physiotherapy, kinesiotherapy, psychotherapy, balneotherapy, aromatherapy, arterial surgery, cosmetic surgery and more.
Within the resort, sports and leisure opportunities include: fitness trails, sports fields, tennis and squash courts, hiking, biking, thermal mineral pools, saunas, solariums, fitness studios, ski slopes, theater performances, daily concerts and dances, and a casino.
For those not seeking major treatments, at the Pivnica, a circular glass building attached to the Hotel Donat, you can "hire" a glass to drink from one of 11 fountains containing hot and cold mineral waters. The Hotel Donat also offers an indoor mineral pool.
The non-spa visitor will find just as much to do and see in the city and its surrounding area. There are a great number of well-marked trails for hiking and biking. Organized tours are available to the Carthusian Monastery of Pleterje, the Kajfez Castle, or the Atomske Toplice, another thermal spa. These locations can be visited on your own as well. Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the nine-hole golf course in nearby Podcetrtek.
An easy side-trip for the day is a trek to Rogatec, just 7 km to the east of Rogaška. The town dates back to Roman times and holds two beautiful Baroque churches and the remains of two castles.
Cultural sites in Rogaška Slatina include the Museum of Graphic Art, which houses the collection of 16th-19th century etchings and drawings donated by Kurt Müller. Frequent concerts take place throughout the town and resort, including an annual song festival.
A final popular attraction is the local crystal factory and shop. Group tours are available to watch as workers produce some of the world's finest crystal, including Waterford. A gift shop offers reasonable prices for crystalware.
Geography and Climate
Slovenia is a central European country with a surface area of 12,153 square miles. Austria borders it to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Italy to the west. To the southwest, Slovenia has a 28-mile coastline on the Adriatic Sea.
There are basically six topographies: the Alps, including the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Karavanke chain and the Pohorje Massif to the north and northeast; the pre-Alpine hills of Idrija, Cerkno, Skofja Loka and Posavje spreading across the entire southern side of the Alps; the Dinaric karst (a limestone region of underground rivers, gorges, and caves) below the hills and encompassing the "true" or "original" Karst Plateau (from which all karst regions around the world take their name) between Ljubljana and the Italian border; the Slovenian Littoral, 28 miles of coastline along the Adriatic Sea; the "lowlands," comprising about one-fifth of the territory in various parts of the country; and the essentially flat Pannonian Plain to the east and northeast.
Slovenia is predominantly hilly or mountainous; about 90% of the surface is more than 700 feet above sea level. Forest, some of it virgin, covers just under half of the country, making Slovenia one of the greenest countries in the world. Agricultural land (fields, orchards, vineyards, pastures, etc.) account for 43% of the total.
Slovenia is temperate with four seasons, but the topography creates three individual climates. The northwest has an Alpine climate with strong influences from the Atlantic and abundant precipitation. Temperatures in the Alpine valleys are moderate in summer but cold in winter. The coast and a large part of Primorska as far as the Soca Valley has a Mediterranean climate with warm sunny weather much of the year and mild winters. Most of eastern Slovenia has a Continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The average temperature in July is 68-75°F in the interior while on the coast it is around 82-85°F. Ljubljana sits in a valley, and often has fog or rain covering the city.
Slovenia gets most of its rain in the spring (May and June) and autumn (October and November). January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 30°F, and July is the warmest, with an average temperature of 70°E The mean average temperature in Ljubljana is 50°F. Average annual precipitation is 31 inches in the east and 117 inches in the northeast, on account of heavier snowfall.
Slovenia has a population of some two million, which is about 90% Slovene, with sizable Italian and Hungarian minorities Slovenes are descendants of the Southern Slavs who settled in what is now Slovenia and parts of Italy, Austria, and Hungary from the 6th century AD. Other group; identify themselves as Croats (2.7%), Serbs (2.5%), and simply "Moslems" (1.3%). There are also 8,500 ethnic Hungarians and 2,300 Gypsies, largely it Prekmurje, as well as 3,000 Italians it Primorska.
The Italians and Hungarians are considered indigenous minorities with rights protected under the constitution, and they have special deputies looking after their interests in Parliament.
Ethnic Slovenes living outside the national borders number about 400,000, with the vast majority (almost 75%) in the U.S. and Canada. Cleveland, Ohio, is the largest "Slovenian" city outside Slovenia, Slovene minorities also live in Italy, Austria and Hungary.
The population density is 300 people per square mile, with the urban-rural ratio split almost exactly in half. The five largess settlements in Slovenia are Ljubljana (270,000), Maribor (108,000), Celjc (40,000), Kranj (30,000), and Koper (25,300). The population is aging. Currently, 15% of Slovenia is over 60 years of age, and by 2000 the figure will rise to over 25%.
About 80% of Slovenes are Roman Catholic. An archbishop sits in Ljubljana, and there are bishoprics at Maribor and Koper. Eastern Orthodox Christians, Moslems, and Protestants are represented in small percentages.
Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional republic. Power is shared between a directly elected President, a Prime Minister, and a bicameral legislature with constitutional provision for an independent judiciary.
Slovenia has been a member of the UN since May 1992 and the Council of Europe since May 1993. In 1998-99, it served as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council. On February 1, 1999, it became an Associate Member of the European Union (EU). Slovenia is also a member of all major international financial institutions: the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Slovenia also belongs to 40 other international organizations, among them the World Trade Organization, of which it is a founding member.
The supreme legislative body in Slovenia is the Parliament, which is composed of two chambers, the National Assembly and the National Council (a kind of "upper" chamber with the right to veto some decisions of the National Assembly). The President of the Republic is elected in general elections for a 5-year term. The President is the formal supreme armed forces commander in time of war, but otherwise his constitutional powers are relatively limited. The President of the National Assembly and Prime Minister are elected by the National Assembly for a 4-year term. Seats in the National Assembly are decided by proportional representation, although this may change to a first-past-the-post voting system early in the new century.
Major political parties include the Liberal Democratic Party (LDS), the People's Party (SLS), the Social Democratic Party (SDS), the Christian Democratic Party (SKD), the Associated List (ZLSD), the Pensioners Party (DeSUS), and the National Party (SNS). There are also a few dozen very small political parties which currently have no representation in Parliament.
In classic political terms, few fundamental philosophical differences exist between "left" and "right" in the area of public policy. Slovene society is built on consensus, which has converged on a social-democrat model. Instead, political differences have their roots in the roles that groups and individuals played during the years of Communist rule and the struggle for independence. As evidence of this, the coalition that emerged from the l996 general elections spans the political spectrum, joining a nominally "leftist" Liberal Democratic Party and a "rightist" Peoples Party. Also a part of the coalition is the post-communist Pensioners Party. The parliamentary opposition is similarly fragmented.
Judges exercise judicial authority and their appointment is for life. Judges are not appointed but elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the Judicial Council, and may be dismissed only if they infringe the Constitution or commit a major breach of the law.
The courts are divided into the courts of general jurisdiction and special jurisdiction. Specialized courts exercise judicial power only in special legal fields, within special jurisdiction provided by Statute (e.g., the Labor and Social Courts-specialized in deciding on individual and collective labor disputes and on social disputes, i.e. on disputes in areas of social security).
Courts of general jurisdiction are organized on four levels: district, regional, high, and Supreme. The Office of Public Prosecutor is an independent state body, but it consults closely with the government, in most cases with the Ministry of Justice. The organization of the Public Prosecutor's office parallels that of the courts of general jurisdiction.
The Constitutional Court is the highest body of judicial review. The Court has nine members (judges) elected by the National Assembly on the nomination of the President of the Republic. A judge is elected for a term of 9 years and is not eligible for reelection.
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) active in Slovenia include: Amnesty International, the UN Association of Slovenia, the Helsinki Monitor, Information (the documentation center of the Council of Europe in Slovenia), the Red Cross of Slovenia, Caritas (a Catholic charity), UNICEF, and GAEA 2000 (an ecological and refugee NGO).
Arts, Science, and Education
The Reformation brought literacy and general culture to the Slovenes in the 16th century. Where before only a small number of religious persons could read and write Latin, the introduction of the printing press made the Slovene language available to the masses-a political as well as a cultural milestone. Primoz Trubar's The Catechism was printed in 1551. In 1584 the first translation of the Bible into Slovene by Jurij Dalmatin was published, and the first Slovene grammar by Adam Bohoric. Although the subsequent Counterreformation crushed the religious gains made by the Protestant Reformation, the linguistic seed of Slovene nationhood had taken root. To this day, October 31, Reformation Day, is celebrated as a national holiday.
Drama and poetry were also instrumental in developing the Slovene language in the 18th and 19th centuries. The poems of Valentin Vodnik and the plays of Anton T. Linhart expressed the libertarian spirit of the French Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
The great educational reforms introduced by Austrian Empress Maria Theresa in the late 1700s resulted in mass literacy of the Slovene people. As a result, poet France Preseren, a lawyer and freethinker, brought to Slovene poetry all the principal classical poetic forms; he spiritually kindled the sub-Alpine province with the fighting spirit of the European Romantics and thus articulated the national consciousness. A century and a half after its creation, his "Zdravljica" (The Toast) became the national anthem of the Slovene State.
Other influential writers were Ivan Cankar and Oton Zupancic. Both contributed to the cultural and spiritual development as well as the political life of the Slovene people. Cankar, a master of symbolic sketches and somewhat Ibsen-like plays about the disintegration of provincial values at a time of industrialization and the advance of capital, was also an enthusiastic essayist. Zupancic, whose explicitly modern approach to poetry and powerful personality made him for many years the standard for other poets, also supported the national resistance from the start of World War II.
The Slovene capital of Ljubljana has a variety of theaters: drama, opera, and ballet companies of the Slovene National Theater (Ljubljana), the Municipal Theater, Slovene Youth Theater, and other amateur theaters. There are also drama, opera and ballet companies in Maribor, Slovenia's second largest city, and professional theaters perform in Celje, Kranj, and Nova Gorica (as well as in Trieste in Italy). An international agreement guarantees the Slovene minority their own artistic creativity.
Music is an important part of the Slovene culture. Some documentary evidence suggests that the Slovenes first brought their own musical culture with them to their new home-land in the 6th century. Monasteries, churches, and schools provided melodic and harmonic choral and liturgical singing. By the end of the middle ages, church music had reached a relatively high level based on the polyphony prevailing in European centers of the time.
In the 18th century, the first Slovene opera was written, "Belin" by J. Zupan and EA. Dev. In 1701, Ljubljana received its Academia Philharmonicorum, the forerunner of today's Philharmonic. Europe's leading composers and performers of the day-Joseph Haydn, Ludwig von Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Niccolo Paganini, Johannes Brahms, Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak-were honorary members, and frequently appeared on the Philharmonia stage. Its conductors-guest and permanent-included Gustav Mahler, Pablo Sarasate, and Eugene d'Albert.
Choral singing is also deeply rooted in Slovene culture and very popular. The meeting of choirs at Sentvid by Sticna each year brings together several thousand singers. Representatives of alternative music and culture, groups like Laibach and Borghesia, are specifically a Slovene phenomenon.
The most important Slovene fine art can be seen in national institutions such as the National Gallery and the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana, and in numerous smaller galleries and exhibitions throughout Slovenia. At Ljubljana's Academy of Fine Arts, Slovene painters keep pace with the world's creativity, as do sculptors, successors to the traditions of Bernkeker, Zajc, Kalin, Savinsek, and many others. An International Graphics Biennial was initiated in 1955 under the auspices of the Modern Gallery, expanded in 1987 to an International Graphic Arts Center.
Architecture is also an important aspect of the Slovenian culture and character. Slovenia's most famous architect, Joze Plecnik, developed a master plan for the reconstruction of Ljubljana after much of its city center was destroyed in an earthquake in 1895. His works included the famous bridge of Tromostovje (Three Bridges), Ljubljana's busiest and most beautiful bridge; the National and University Library; the open market by the Ljubljanica River; Zale Cemetery, the Garden of All Saints; the adaptation of Krizanke for the summer theater; the Churches of St. Francis in Siska and St. Michael on the Marsh; and the central stadium. Credit for Ljubljana's architectural charm is also due to modern architect Max Fabiani, who conceived the beautiful Secession Park in the city center.
Any discussion of Slovene culture must take into account such important institutions as the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts and the University. The Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts was founded just before World War II (1938), but its deep roots reach back to the 17th century, to the Academia Operosomm. The University of Ljubljana, founded in 1919, was Slovenia's only educational institution until the founding of its second university in Maribor in 1975.
The first well-known Slovene scientist was the social historian, Janez Vajkard Valvasor (1641-1693), a member of the British Royal Society. In 1689, he published in 3,500 pages a richly illustrated work, "In Praise of the Duchy of Carniola," which thoroughly presented a central part of Slovenia to Europe and remains an important reference source to the day.
The first scientific academy operated in Ljubljana in the period from 1693 to 1725. In 1762, almost 100 years before Pasteur, the physician Marko Plencic recognized micro-organisms as the cause of contagious diseases. The mathematician Jurij Vega developed logarithms in the 1700s while the greatest Slovene physicist, Jozef Stefan, discovered the law of heat radiation in 1879. In 1923, Ljubljana-born Friderik Pregl received the chemistry Nobel Prize for his work on organic chemical microanalysis.
After World War II, numerous basic research institutes were established in Slovenia: physics, chemistry, electromechanical, and others. The Physics Institute, named after Jozef Stefan, has become one of Slovenia's premier research institutes with approximately 550 scientists. Its founder and first director, physicist Anton Peterlin, went abroad in 1960 and became one of the top scientists in the field of large molecules and polymerization. The Stefan Institute keeps abreast of the world's main developmental trends in at least 10 fields. As such, it is a natural venue for scientific and environmental programming, conducting all nuclear and environmental research in Slovenia. It is also actively involved in international exchange.
Today, with a total of 27,000 students and 1,300 faculty members spread among 20 separate faculties, three academies, three specialized schools, and other associated research institutes, the University of Ljubljana remains preeminent. The Economics Faculty's MBA program has profited from a 30-year relationship with the University of Indiana.
The University of Maribor has 12,500 students and 550 professors and has been particularly interested in expanding its cooperation with American educational institutions.
In addition, six freestanding institutes of higher education that grant diplomas have recently been established, with three already fully operational. Two other institutions, the privately operated GEA College and the MBA Center at Brdo, both have excellent international reputations.
The board of education is engaged in a major overhaul of the Slovene school system, including instituting new standardized exams, curriculum reform, educational technology and foreign language teaching, to better match it to the country's projected economic needs.
Commerce and Industry
With less than 2 million inhabitants, Slovenia's economy produced $19.64 billion in goods and services. Slovenians per capita earn $9,899, which is one of the highest among all transitional countries in central and Eastern Europe. The country has a reliable and modern telecommunications system, relatively good public utility infrastructure, a well-developed and modern industrial base, and an educated and productive workforce.
Due to its strategic location, Slovenia has embarked on an ambitious road construction plan that will crisscross the country in two directions: from east to west, linking Milan-Ljubljana-Budapest; and from north to south, linking Munich-Ljubljana-Zagreb. Under this plan, the Slovene traffic network will be entirely modernized by the year 2005. A planned railway from Hungary to the Slovene Port of Koper is another important transportation plan, thereby giving Central Europe a new access to the Adriatic coast.
The Slovene economy is extremely diverse. Manufacturing, which has made considerable progress in recent years, provides almost 30% of the gross domestic product. It is followed in importance by trade, business and financial service, transport, and agency business. Tourism is directly responsible for only around 3% of the gross domestic product, but it is extremely important, both for its general effect on the Slovene economy and for the balance of payments. In 1997, Slovenia's tourism industry provided a US$1.2 billion contribution to the current account.
Small businesses have been the engine of Slovenia's economic growth in recent years. The number of registered companies has grown to almost 52,000 (36,700 were active at the end of 1997). Ninety-five percent of all companies are small, with up to 50 employees. Large companies with more than 250 persons account for 2% and medium-sized companies, roughly 4%.
Industrial production in Slovenia is diverse, with some 6,800 industrial companies in all branches, employing close to 240,000 persons and making roughly 1,690 different groups of industrial products. Primary production includes: electrical machinery and equipment, metal workings in the production of vehicles and machinery, textiles and leather products, wood products and foodstuff, iron and glass, and pharmaceuticals and furniture.
Per capita exports in 1997 amounted to $4,220; considerably higher than other southern, central, and eastern European countries, reflecting Slovenia's exceptional openness. The total exports of goods and services in 1997 reached $10.5 billion, of which exports of goods contributed $8.4 billion. Slovenia has enjoyed virtual balance in the current account since 1992.
Slovenia has a number of important foreign trading partners in the EU, notably Germany, Italy, and Austria. In 1997, Slovenia negotiated an Association Agreement with the EU and expects to become a full member by the turn of the century. Slovenia is also a member of CEFTA (Central European Free Trade Agreement) and has signed 30 free trade agreements with a number of countries including Macedonia, Croatia, Israel, Turkey, and the Baltic States.
The tax system has to a large extent been harmonized with arrangements in other European countries. Profits are taxed at a level of 25%. Individual income tax rates range from 17%-50%. There is a compulsory social security contribution from employees (22.1% of gross pay) and employers (an additional contribution of 19.9%). A new law on value added tax and another on excise duty tax has been adopted, effective July 1999. A general tax level of 19% and a reduced rate of 8% are anticipated.
The process of privatization (or ownership transformation of a formerly socially owned firm) was formally concluded in Slovenia at the end of 1997. The first dividends were paid to the new shareholders in 1995, and shares of an increasing number of companies are traded on the Ljubljana stock exchange.
U.S. policy supports strengthening bilateral economic ties, particularly trade and private business investment, which contribute to Slovenia's development. Some 50 American companies, including some of the largest Fortune 500 firms, have established a presence in the country. The U.S. has supported Slovene application for membership in such international economic organizations as the World Bank and IMF. Official U.S. Government economic assistance through the Support for Eastern European Democracy (SEED) was relatively limited and focused on financial markets. The program officially ended in September 1997. Although some follow-on activities continue, technical assistance is provided largely without official AID intermediation.
The Ljubljana stock exchange was established in 1989 as the first stock exchange in Eastern Europe. Until the recently ended mass privatization of Slovenian economy, the stock exchange did not play an important role. Market capitalization has grown strongly in recent years, a trend that should continue as the culmination of the privatization program brings increasing supply to market.
Like in most of Europe, compact or smaller cars are preferred because of their ease in parking, fuel economy, and resale value. Any standard-make European or Asian-make car is suitable. There are a great number and variety of mechanical repair stations for most types of cars. Chrysler and Ford are the two American car companies represented in Slovenia. Unleaded gasoline is readily available.
All cars brought into the Republic of Slovenia must have a factory-installed catalytic converter; ar older car that cannot be equipped with a catalytic converter cannot be used.
Registration fees are about $200 for a compact/small car and $300 for vans, depending on type of engine. Slovene law requires that cars be equipped with a European first-aid kit, triangle emergency breakdown marker (available locally), a set of spare fuses and bulbs. On trips to nearby Croatia, a rope for emergency vehicle towing is also required. Additional obligatory equipment for winter includes: tire chains; small shovel; small bag of sand; and, a blanket. Snow tires, or radial tires, are recommended for winter driving.
A U.S. drivers license accompanied by a diplomatic identity card serves as a valid drivers license in the Republic of Slovenia.
Locally purchased third-party-liability insurance is required for all vehicles. Every car shipped to Slovenia must pass a technical inspection prior to purchase of this insurance and temporary insurance must be purchased to cover this interim period. This temporary insurance costs between 7,000 and 15,000 SIT ($42 and $92), depending on the size of the engine.
Traffic moves on the right. Road signs and traffic rules are similar to those used throughout Europe. During winter, roads are adequately cleared of snow and ice. Traffic within city limits can get surprisingly heavy at times but is generally light compared to most major U.S. cities. On major freeways, traffic delays are unusual except during the summer vacation period, July through September, when long delays can be experienced, especially at border crossings.
The public bus system in Ljubljana is excellent. Because of the shortage of parking downtown, many commute by bus. In general, buses run from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. A onetime ticket costs 140 SIT ($.85); tokens which are sold in any post office or kiosk are 80 SIT ($.50). Taxis are available either by telephone or at taxi stands. Bicycles are also widely used for in-city commuting.
There is train and bus service throughout Slovenia and to neighboring countries. The road system is excellent, though the highway system is still under construction in some areas. Ljubljana has one international airport (Brrnik) with flights to and from major European cities.
Telephone and Telegraph
Within Slovenia, telephone calls are very inexpensive but calls to other countries are much more expensive than in the U.S. Several international companies provide international callback services at reasonable prices. There is no provision for calling card use in Slovenia.
The international mail in Slovenia is reliable.
Radio and TV
There are several Slovenian television channels: one national TV station with two channels and several private TV stations. A regular antenna will pick up local stations that carry English-language TV shows and films, with subtitles in Slovene. Most areas have access to cable TV, which provides over 30 channels, including CNN, TNT, BBC, and the Discovery Channel. There are numerous radio stations, both public and private.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals
Slovenia has four daily newspapers: Delo (Work), Dnevnik (Daily), Vecer (Evening), and Slovenska novice (Slovenia News). Some three dozen weeklies, biweeklies, and monthlies cover topics as diverse as agriculture, finance, and women's fashion. There are no locally published English-language newspapers, though Vitrum publishes a good political and business newsletter called Slovenia Weekly and a magazine devoted to tourism, leisure and the arts called Flaneur.
The International Herald Tribune provides same-day delivery service. Other English-language newspapers and magazines are available at newsstands.
Health and Medicine
In general, medical services in Slovenia are excellent. The principal medical institution is The University Clinical Medical Center in Ljubljana. It is a diagnostic, therapeutic, research center that also serves as an educational base for the School of Medicine of the University of Ljubljana.
Dental facilities are adequate. Slovene dentists do not routinely practice preventive care as is common in the U.S.
Tap water is potable. Sterilized long-life and fresh milk is available. Raw fruits and vegetables are safe to eat using the precautions one would normally follow in the U.S. Sewage and garbage disposal treatment is adequate.
Antibiotics, allergy medication and all other prescription medication are available at local pharmacies. Regularly used prescription medication can be renewed through the mail system using the diplomatic pouch service. Some over-the-counter medicine is available locally.
For those persons who engage in outdoor activities, a vaccine to prevent tick-borne encephalitis is recommended.
NOTES FOR TRAVELERS
Passage, Customs and Duties
Travel to Ljubljana is very easy, by air, train, bus, or car from any of the major European cities. Since no American air carrier flies direct from the U.S. to Ljubljana, connections are made in Vienna, Frankfurt, or Zurich. Slovene Adria Airways flies to most major European cities.
A valid passport is required for entry into Slovenia. A visa is not required for a tourist/business stay up to 90 days. For further information on entry requirements for Slovenia, travelers may contact the Embassy of Slovenia at 1525 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, Tel: (202) 667-5363, or the Consulate General of Slovenia in New York City, Tel: (2l2) 370-3006. The website of the Slovenian Embassy in the United States is http://www.embassy.org/slovenia/.
Americans living in or visiting Slovenia are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ljubljana to obtain updated information on travel and security within Slovenia. The U.S. Embassy is located at Presernova 31, Ljubljana 1000, Tel: (386)(1) 200-5500 or Fax: (386)(1) 200-5535. The Embassy website address is http://www.usembassy.si
All dogs and cats entering Slovenia must be accompanied by a certificate of good health bearing the seal of your local board of health and signed by a veterinarian. This certificate must be issued not more than 10 days prior to the animal's arrival. A veterinarian meets the animal at the airport upon arrival and checks all these health papers before allowing entry through the customs. There is also a 3-week in-house quarantine period. The quarantine period ends after a stool examination and an inspection by a veterinarian.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures
The official currency unit of the Republic of Slovenia is the tolar, abbreviated "SIT," which is divided into denominations of 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, and 10, with coins in denominations of 5, 2, and 1 SIT. The currency is relatively stable, with current exchange rates of approximately US$1=SIT 160.
Unfortunately, most ATM machines in Slovenia only accept cards from Slovene banks, which prohibits foreigners from using their ATM cards while here. Occasionally, the ATM machine at the airport will accept a foreign card, but it only works sporadically. Credit cards are increasingly accepted, as more and more establishments obtain permission to use them. The metric system of weights and measures is used.
Jan. 1 & 2 …New Year's Day
Feb. 8 …Slovenian Cultural Holiday
April 27 …Resistance Day
May 1 & 2 …Labor Day
June 25 …Slovenian National Day
Aug. 15…Assumption Day
Oct. 31 …Reformation Day
Nov. 1 …All Saints' Day
Dec. 25 …Christmas Day
Dec. 26 …Independence Day
These titles are provided as an indication of the material published on Slovenia.
Anderlic, Joze and Zadnikar, Marjan (trans. Danica Dolenc). Religious Art in Slovenia. (Koper: Ognjisce, 1986)
Arnez, John A. Slovenia in European Affairs: Reflections on Slovenian Political History. (1958)
Arnez, John A. Slovenian Lands and Their Economies, 1848-1873. (1983)
Banac, Ivo. The National Question in Yugoslavia: Origins, History and Politics. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984)
Barker, Thomas M. (with Andreas Moritsch). The Slovene Minority in Carinthia. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984)
Benderly, Jill and Kraft, Evan (eds.). Independent Slovenia: Origins, Movements, Prospects. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994)
Burkhardt, Francois; Eveno, Claudio; and Podrecca, Boris (eds.). Joze Plecnik, Architect: 1872-1957. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1989).
Conceptions and Strategy of the Development of Education: Education Modernization Programme in Republic Slovenia until 2000. (Ljubljana: Zavodrepublike Slovenije za solstvo, May 1990)
Fallon, Steve, Slovenia: a Lonely Planet travel survival kit (The best and only English travel guide to Slovenia.)
Financial Times Survey: Slovenia. Financial Times (30 March 1998)
Gelt, Draga. The Slovenians from the Earliest Times. (Victoria, Australia: Coordinating Committee of Slovenian Organizations, 1985)
Harriman, Helga. Slovenia Under Nazi Occupation 1941-1945. (New York and Washington: Studia Slovenica, 1977)
Hocevar, Toussaint. The Economic History of Slovenia, 1828-1918. (New York: Society for Slovene Studies Documentation Series, No. 4, 1978)
Joze Plecnik, 1872-1957. Architecture and the City. (Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic-Urban Design, 1983)
Kuhar, Aloysius L. The Conversion of the Slovenes and the German-Slav Ethnic Boundary in the Eastern Alps. (New York and Washington: Studia Slovenica, 1959)
Kuhar, Aloysius L. Slovene Medieval History: Selected Studies. (New York and Washington: Studia Slovenica, 1962)
Lencek, Rado L. The Structure and History of the Slovene Language. (Columbus, Ohio: Slavica Publis-Loncar, Dragotin (translated by Anthony Klancar). The Slovenes: A Social History (From the Earliest Times to 1910). (Cleveland: Jugoslav Printing and Publishing Co., 1939)hers, 1982)
Menase, Lev (ed.). Art Treasures of Slovenia. (Belgrade: Jugoslovenska revija, 1981)
Novak, Bodgan. Trieste, 1941-54: The Ethnic, Political, and Ideological Struggle. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970)
Singleton, Fred. A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)
Slovene Studies. Scholarly journal, published annually in English since 1979)
Slovenia Business Report. (Monthly magazine) (Ljubljana: Gospodarski vestnik)
Slovenia for Everyone. Ljubljana: Government Public Relations and Media Office (1993)
Slovenija. (Quarterly magazine) (Ljubljana: Slovenska izseljenska matica)
Thompson, Mark. A Paper House: The Ending of Yugoslavia. New York: Pantheon (1993)
Tollefson, James. The Language Situation and Language Policy in Slovenia. (Washington, DC: University Press of America, 1981)
Treasure Chest of Slovenia. (Ljubljana: Cankarjeva zalozba/Mladinska knjiga, 1988).
Winner, Irene. A Slovenian Village: Zerovnica. (Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University (Press, 1971)
"Slovenia." Cities of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia-0
"Slovenia." Cities of the World. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia-0
Republic of Slovenia
LOCATION AND SIZE.
Located in southeastern Europe, bounded on the north by Austria, on the northeast by Hungary, on the southeast and south by Croatia, and on the west by Italy and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia has an area of 20,253 square kilometers (7,820 square miles), slightly smaller comparatively than New Jersey, and a coastline of 46.6 kilometers (29 miles). The capital city, Ljubljana, is situated on the Sava River in the central part of the country; the second major city is Maribor on the Drava River in the northeast.
The population of Slovenia was estimated at 1,930,132 in July 2001. At the 1991 census, it was 1,962,606, giving it an overall population density of 97 persons per square kilometers (252 per square miles). In 2001, the birth rate was estimated at 9.32 per 1,000 population, while the death rate stood at 9.98 per 1,000, giving Slovenia a negative rate of natural increase. In 2001, however, a positive population growth rate was estimated, partly due to immigration from other former Yugoslav republics. Unlike many Eastern European countries, Slovenia has not been seriously affected by economic emigration in the 1990s.
Slovenes, a Slavic ethnic group, constitute about 88 percent of the republic's population; ethnic Croats (about 3 percent), ethnic Serbs (about 2 percent), and several other ethnic groups (about 7 percent) constitute the remainder. Slovenian culture has been strongly influenced by Austrian and German culture. Languages include Slovenian and others, corresponding to the ethnic breakdown. Most Slovenes (about 69 percent) are Roman Catholics, with smaller numbers of Lutherans and others. In the mid-1990s, Slovenia was home to some 20,000 refugees from the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. About 52 percent of the population lives in urban areas, particularly in Ljubljana. The population is aging, with 16 percent below the age of 14 and 19 percent older than 60.
The aging of the population was spectacularly illustrated by the success of the Democratic Party of Slovene Pensioners (Desus) in the late 1990s. Having entered parliament in 1996, this retiree party achieved a record 5.2 percent share of the popular vote in 2000, pledging to put off pension reform. The Slovenian government has been consistent in its commitment to supporting families and youth, yet unable to reverse the aging trend, characteristic of Europe as a whole.
OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY
Slovenia had been a part of Austria for many centuries before joining the former Yugoslavia as its most prosperous part in 1918. After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, newly independent Slovenia was the richest (al-though the smallest) country in central-eastern Europe; it is also considered one of the easiest to be absorbed in the enlarged European Union (EU), made up of, as of early 2001, 15 European countries joining together to form a more competitive economic and political force in the region and the world. Slovenia's foreign policy since independence has focused on strengthening relations with western Europe while weakening its ties with the rest of the former Yugoslavia, which, through much of the 1990s, suffered from the devastation brought by war.
Slovenia's economic record is among the best in Eastern Europe; the budget is under control, the currency is stable, and the economy has been growing for 10 years. In 1989 (the last year in which Slovenia was part of communist Yugoslavia), its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was US$11,510, putting it considerably ahead of smaller EU members such as Portugal and Greece, and in 1999, after a good performance in the 1990s, it had risen to US$13,283, which came just under 60 percent of the EU average. In 1999, real GDP rose by 4.9 percent, making Slovenia the fastest growing country in central-eastern Europe. In the second half of the 1990s, however, its average growth rate was 4.2 percent, leaving it behind Poland, Slovakia, and Croatia during the same period, largely because Slovenia, unlike its neighbors, experienced only a limited decline at the beginning of the decade and had a somewhat slow approach to privatization .
The real output level in Slovenia in 1999 was 9.3 percent above 1989, while most countries in Eastern Europe are still far below their 1989 level, and only Poland's 1999 output of 21.8 percent was higher than Slovenia's. Slovenia's openness to trade, with total trade equivalent to about 115 percent of GDP, has been instrumental in sustaining economic growth, and maintaining export competitiveness has consistently been the focus of government attention. Slovenia's dependence on Eastern European markets before 1989 was also small compared to that of most of its neighbors.
Slovenia competes with Hungary for 1st place in the line of formerly communist countries wanting to join the EU, which will make it a more attractive venue for foreign investment than most other ex-Yugoslav republics. Although the government was criticized in the mid-1990s for slow structural reforms and a comparatively rigid economy, it has fulfilled the EU entry criteria of developing a functioning market economy and is getting closer to meeting the second requirement of being capable to withstand competitive pressure in the single European market.
Yet the EU complains that large banks and utilities are still in state hands, which means that Slovenia has one of the lowest shares of private-sector activity in GDP among the EU applicant countries. Moreover, the EU believes that the Slovenian economy in general, and labor markets in particular, are over regulated and leave little ground for new investment and innovation. Consequently, much work remains yet to be done in the areas of privatization and capital market reform. Privatization is expected in banking, telecommunications, and public utility sectors. Government and corporate restrictions on foreign investment are slowly being discarded, and direct investment is expected to increase in the 21st century.
Although Slovenia's external debt rose from $4 billion in 1996 to $6.1 billion in 2000 (estimate), the increase is considered proportionate to the GDP; a trade deficit has contributed to its accumulation as imports steadily outgrow exports. The strong banking sector and the steady growth of GDP, however, are generally offsetting any possible negative effects on the economy and living standards.
POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION
Slovenia emerged from the former communist Yugoslavia in 1991 as a parliamentary republic with a multi-party democratic system, remarkably moderate and consensus-oriented. The center-left Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS) won the parliamentary election in October 2000, securing 34 seats in the 90-member National Assembly, which gave it a wide edge over the largest center-right group, the Social Democratic Party (SDS), which took 14 seats. The left-of-center United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD) won 11 seats, while the Democratic Party of Slovene Pensioners (Desus) and the Slovene National Party (SNS), 2 other left-of-center formations, made their way back into the Assembly. The election ended in defeat for the 3 main center-right parties of the Slovene Spring movement—the SDS, the Slovene People's Party, and the New Slovenia-Christian People's Party, which together got only 31 seats, one-third down from the 45 deputies that they had after the 1996 election—a result that destroyed their ambitions of reviving the coalition government that they formed in June 2000. All major parties (with the possible exception of SNS) firmly support EU membership and (with the possible exception of ZLSD) entrance into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), both of which are expected in the 1st decade of the 21st century.
The LDS positioned itself as a party equipped to guide Slovenia through the challenges likely to be encountered on the path to EU membership and globalization. It demonstrated its commitment to modernization, along with its liberal economic agenda, including plans to privatize banking, insurance, and the energy sector. The electorate swung to the LDS primarily because of its record for competence. This party in fact ran the country from early 1992 until April 2000, playing the leading role in 3 coalition governments, all of which were headed by the party leader, Janez Drnovsek. Convincing evidence has not backed up innuendoes from the right that the LDS has grown corrupt. The LDS government is expected to fulfill its pledges for privatization of state assets, deregulation , reducing the time needed to set up a company, technology development, and boosting the GDP growth rate to 5 percent. Also expected is expansion of post-graduate study programs, computerization of schools, increased social assistance to the poor by 60 percent, cutting of unemployment by 20 percent, and an active social housing policy.
The state still has considerable influence in the economy, with the public sector accounting for roughly 50 percent of the output and public consumption over 20 percent of the total. The continued dominance of the financial sector by state-owned banks is said to hold back development and competition. The slow progress on privatization and somewhat rigid business conditions are keeping foreign direct investment at a low level. Progress in improving the economic climate, combined with a full and timely completion of privatization, structural reforms, and market liberalization , would attract more foreign investors and provide better conditions for sustained future growth. Privatization deals in Slovenia, however, have been largely a success, unlike the ones in Bulgaria, where many enterprises went to management-employee ventures in deals largely seen as politically motivated, ineffective, and even corrupt.
Public accounts show that the overall tax burden in 1998 stood at 40.5 percent of GDP. Income taxes are progressive, and a value-added tax was recently introduced at a standard rate of 19 percent and a lower rate of 8 percent. Parliament passed a law in 1998 taxing motor vehicles, which had frequently been discussed but never adopted. The new tax rate depends on the price, varying from 1 to 13 percent. A new law governing taxation of the insurance business was also recently passed, providing for premiums to be taxed at a rate of 6.5 percent. No tax will be paid on certain insurance products, including mandatory pension and health insurance.
INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS
Slovenia's infrastructure is relatively developed, and the government is investing ever more in it to take advantage of its geographic, trade, and cultural potential. There is a good transportation network, containing 19,586 kilometers (12,143 miles) of roads (1998), including good quality expressways. Construction of highways is a priority, with US$4 billion in funding for 700 kilometers (435 miles) of highways to be completed by 2000. There are 3 major airports. Upgrading rail links will cost US$2.5 billion by the year 2005, with priority given to the east-west and northwest-southeast corridors. The Adriatic port of Koper, near Trieste in Italy, serves as a principle port for Austrian and Hungarian exports and is essential for Czech and Slovak exports.
|Country||Newspapers||Radios||TV Sets a||Cable subscribers a||Mobile Phones a||Fax Machines a||Personal Computers a||Internet Hosts b||Internet Users b|
|aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.|
|bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
Slovenia's energy sector is state-owned and derives most of its output from nuclear plants (38.2 percent), thermal plants burning fossil fuels (37.1 percent), and hydroelectric facilities (24.7 percent). Electricity production was 13.18 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) and consumption stood at 10.661 billion kWh in 1998. Slovenia also exports some energy. The German Siemens and the French engineering group Framatome have won a $38 million contract to replace 2 steam generators at the Krsko nuclear power plant, jointly owned by the Slovenian and Croatian electricity companies. American-owned Westinghouse has also announced its contracts to supply fuel assemblies to the plant.
In communications, Slovenia has been at the leading edge of the Internet revolution, with the highest concentration in Eastern Europe of Internet connections per inhabitant (and per server), and it offers a promising ground for emerging electronic commerce players. It has a well-developed modern telecommunications infrastructure and ranks second in Eastern Europe, after Hungary, in terms of cellular telephone penetration (4.5 percent) and telephone density is 36 percent. A second cellular service provider, Simobil, a joint venture between Telia of Sweden (25 percent) and 8 Slovene companies, including Intereuropa (15 percent) and switching manufacturer Iskratel (15 percent), that is using the pan-European Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) standard, has recently joined the leading cellular company, Mobitel. At the end of 1997, Mobitel had a total of 100,000 cellular subscribers, out of which approximately 60 percent were GSM users. In traditional telecommunications, the national monopoly , Telekom Slovenije (ST), will invest about $700 million to expand and modernize in preparation for its full privatization. ST will retain its fixed-line monopoly until 2000. Slovenia's ambition is to become a transit area for Balkan communications connections and talks are under way with several countries in the region. Competition in this area, however, may come from Hungary.
Most major sectors reported growth in 1999. Industry constituted 35 percent of GDP in 1998. Agriculture accounted for a modest 4 percent, although its contribution to the market value of products rose by 2.2 percent, and services were by far the largest sector in the economy with 61 percent of GDP and almost half of the value added to all commercial companies.
Given the mountainous terrain of the country, with forests accounting for more than 50 percent of the territory, agriculture accounted for just about 4 percent of GDP in 1998, with dairy farming and livestock (cattle, sheep, and poultry) dominating this sector. Major crops include cereals such as corn and wheat, potatoes, sugar beets, and fruits (particularly grapes). Agriculture in Slovenia was much less collectivized (state-owned) than in other Eastern European countries, and consequently did not suffer greatly from market reforms. The country exports some beverages, particularly wine, and food, mainly to EU markets.
Chief Slovene industries produce electrical equipment, electronics, trucks, chemicals, processed food, textiles, paper and paper products, and wood products. Ferrous metallurgy and rolling mill products, aluminum reduction and rolled products, and lead and zinc smelting are also developed. In the third quarter of 2000, industrial production grew by 6.2 percent, although there was a slowdown in the largely loss-making coal-mining sector and in power output. Net profits in manufacturing, however, have soared from SIT 2 billion in 1997 to SIT 28.7 billion in 1998, all due to an increase in production, as opposed to previous years in which job cuts had played the primary role in boosting productivity.
Foreign strategic investors are allowed under Slovene law to acquire stakes of up to 60 percent in the formerly government-owned entities being sold. The state fund retains 20 percent stakes, while the remaining 20 percent are sold in voucher privatization or used to pay wage arrears (unpaid and overdue wages) to workers. Several major foreign companies have recently acquired stakes in Slovene manufacturing firms. Tire manufacturer Goodyear (U.S.) invested US$120 million in a 60 percent stake in Sava tire unit and 75 percent in its engineered rubber division. The government plans to sell the entire steel industry by accepting bids for its 3 main steel producers, Store, Ravne, and Jesenice. Inexa (Sweden) has recently expressed an interest in Store. Renault (France), BASF, Hoechst and Siemens (Germany) are among the top foreign investors.
Slovene homes abound with consumer durables such as electrical household appliances, due in part to the strong position of the local manufacturer Gorenje. The company holds about a 40 percent market share in refrigerators, kitchen ranges, washing machines, and related items, and output rose by 9.8 percent in 1999. Its products are cheaper and compete well in terms of quality with popular Italian imports like Candy. In addition, the company has started moving into more expensive high-end household products that have captured part of the market once reserved for German and Austrian brands.
Tourism is a significant source of foreign currency, accounting for US$1.22 billion in revenue in 1996, a record for independent Slovenia, but still far behind the results before 1991, when many more foreign tourists visited its famous mountain resorts (around Lake Bled) and coastal areas. The authorities have been somewhat slow in recognizing the earning potential of that sector. Even now, opinions are divided on this activity whose fortunes depend sometimes on circumstances beyond the country's control. More recently the view has prevailed that tourism deserves more support, given the potential in a country combining an Alpine setting and a Mediterranean coast within a short distance, as well as numerous places of historical and architectural interest and broadly acclaimed health spas located in resort towns along the coast.
Germans (782,128), Italians (537,412), Austrians (483,472), Croats (212,676), Dutch (151,470) and British (135,269) made most overnight stays in 1999. The government plan is to achieve some 9 million overnight stays of foreign guests by 2005 in order to surpass the level of nearly 8 million in 1990, but few in Slovenia are relying on a return to mass-market tourism—which is rather unlikely, given the overall decline of the industry in Europe and the country's relatively high labor costs. Casinos, which bring in 30 percent of all tourism earnings, will also be encouraged. But foreign involvement in this sector has been limited so far, and some foreign tour operators sometimes get a hostile reception by domestic firms.
With 25 banks, 6 savings institutions, and 70 commercial credit houses at the end of 1999, Slovenia is considered to be rather over-banked. The role played by financial institutions in the economy is in line with other leading Eastern European transition economies but still lags below levels found in Western Europe. The 3 largest banks, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, SKB banka, and Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor, hold more than half of the total banking assets, but are still state-owned despite long-standing privatization plans. The Slovene banking sector has avoided the calamities that have plagued other east-central European countries. Slovene banks tend to be more profitable and efficient than their counterparts there, but they are still behind those in the EU, owing to a large extent to the lack of competition. Credit card companies have been active throughout the 1990s, and their market is steadily growing.
Slovenia's retailers, especially the chains with near monopolies in their regions, have been growing throughout the 1990s. Mercator, the largest Slovene retailer, presently accounts for some 40 percent of the entire retail sector, the structure of which is now much closer to that in Austria or Switzerland than to Croatia or Hungary. There are also about 11,000 small stores, with an average size less than one-third of the European average. About half of them have less than 5 employees, and sales per vendor are less than 50 percent of the European average number. The sector is considered ripe for consolidation and for heavy foreign investment. The arrival of heavyweight western-European retailers such as Interspar (Austria) and Leclerc (France) has helped focus interest on higher-volume and lower-margin sales. Competition from such large chains, building hypermarkets (large supermarkets) with western European standards of layout and service, will likely drive many of the smaller retailers out of business.
In Slovenia, direct marketing is quite a serious business as many large direct sales companies, including Amway, Avon, Tupperware, Golden Neo-Life Diamite, Stanhome, Kirby (of the United States), and AMC (of Switzerland), have established their presence. Some, such as Amway and Golden Neo-Life Diamite, have direct representation in the Slovenian market while others, like Avon and Tupperware, use independent agents. Direct marketers complain, however, that their business is made unnecessarily difficult by the many restrictive regulations. A reason for this is the occurrence of many fraudulent pyramid schemes in the early 1990s, which has led to the annihilation of millions of dollars in personal savings and has generated broad government skepticism about direct sales, particularly multi-level marketing ventures.
Slovenia's total trade equivalent is estimated at about 115 percent of the country's GDP, and both imports and exports are currently growing, thanks to the improved foreign demand and the rise in domestic manufacturing production. In 2000, according to the CIA World Fact-book, exports stood at US$8.9 billion and imports at US$9.9 billion. Robust exports growth has more than offset weaknesses in domestic demand. The EU is the leading market for Slovenia's trade, with an over 65 percent share of exports and almost 70 percent of imports. Slovenia's top trading partners include Germany (31 percent of exports and 21 percent of imports), Italy (14 percent of exports and 17 percent of imports), France (6 percent of exports and 11 percent of imports), and Austria (7 percent of exports and 8 percent of imports).
Apart from the EU countries, the other important market for export growth has come from Eastern European markets, especially from countries belonging to the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA). There has also been a continuing revival of exports to former Yugoslav neighbors Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia—which amounted to US$1.2 billion in 1999, or 14 percent of total revenues—while exports to Russia, although also growing, remain low in absolute terms.
Although Slovene exports to Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro) totaled just $85 million in 1999, they have risen quickly after the Kosovo war, reaching $92 million in the first 8 months of 2000. Although the low level of Yugoslav living standards, compounded by the poor state of the Yugoslav banking system, will present serious barriers to foreign trade, Slovene exports to that country will probably continue to expand relatively rapidly. There is likely to be strong growth in exports of consumer goods by companies such as Tobacna Tovarna (cigarettes), Gorenje (household appliances), Mura (clothes), and Droga Portoroz (teas and spices). Serbia was an important market for these companies before the break-up of Yugoslavia, and their brand names are still well known. They should also be in a good position to compete in what will definitely be an even more price-sensitive market.
Slovene exports include electrical machinery, road vehicles, chemicals and chemical products, footwear, furniture, food, cigarettes, and components and semi-finished goods. Tourism is also a major source of revenue. Exports of services have also exhibited relatively solid growth, reflecting a mixture of strong growth in transport services and other services. The expansion of the latter category has been propelled by the information technology sector, which has displayed strong growth in sales to the rest of the former Yugoslavia.
Imports include machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, chemicals, fuels and lubricants, and food. The strongest growing category of imports has been that of intermediate goods , partly because the strength of export growth has spurred demands for imported components and raw materials. Rising oil prices, coupled with the weakness of the euro, have been the main reasons for the increase in imports of mineral fuels and lubricants.
The Bank of Slovenia (BS, the central bank) is the bank that issues money and handles government funds. In October 1991, it released its own currency, the tolar, to replace the former Yugoslav dinar. Despite its consistently tight monetary policy , banks in Slovenia are relatively strong because of a decrease in consumer lending and also because many banks have received strong foreign currency inflows. This has been a reason for the growth in
|Exchange rates: Slovenia|
|tolars (SIT) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|
corporate lending. The tightening of monetary policy has a significant impact on keeping interest rates low.
Slovenia's stability and high per-capita GDP make its stock market an attractive ground for foreign institutional investors. Brokerages hold that Slovene voucher-privatization funds offer one of the most attractive investment opportunities in the region. But tight restrictions on foreign capital have sent many investors looking elsewhere, and even the recent relaxation of the rules is not certain to bring them back. Foreign investors in Slovenia must choose between 2 types of investment accounts. The first one allows the player to participate in local trading and transact with local entities, but requires a fee that is in fact a foreign currency forward. The second type is fee-free, but there is a holding period of 7 years during which any such shares could be traded among foreign investors, but not sold to the local market. This scheme was aimed at creating a parallel foreign market, but trading volumes at first failed to generate the amount of cash needed. As restrictions took effect, money inflows decreased dramatically, and the main index of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange fell by 20 percent. But soon after the scheme was put to this test, it started working as intended. Slovenia welcomed this as a victory over the changeable nature of international capital flows. However, it is expected that the restrictions could become an obstacle in Slovenia's negotiations to join the EU.
POVERTY AND WEALTH
Before 1991, Slovenia was the most prosperous of the former Yugoslav republics and, arguably, of all Eastern European countries. Since independence, it has stayed away from political and economic disturbances that have plagued the region and has been cautious in its reform policies, displaying continuity as well as an affinity to consensus. Although unemployment is still an issue, the new government has pledged to cut it by 20 percent, while increasing social assistance by 60 percent and pursuing an active social housing policy. Pension funds have generally run a balanced budget, as any shortfalls in revenue
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Slovenia|
|Survey year: 1995|
|Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.|
|SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].|
(mostly derived from payroll contributions) have been covered by government transfers. Privatization, although slow, has been more transparent than elsewhere in the Balkans and has not led to serious charges of corruption and illicit fortunes. The rule of law has kept crime on lower levels, thus contributing to social stability and justice. Slovenia has avoided poverty of the proportions of other economies in Eastern Europe.
The structure of consumption in Slovenia is closer to central European models than to its Balkan neighbors, and private consumption per capita is more than twice the level in Bulgaria. Due to its socialist legacy, in 1995,
|Household Consumption in PPP Terms|
|Country||All Food||Clothing and footwear||Fuel and power a||Health care b||Education b||Transport & Communications||Other|
|Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.|
|aExcludes energy used for transport.|
|bIncludes government and private expenditures.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
Slovenia was still considerably more egalitarian than Greece or the United States. The poorest 20 percent controlled 8.4 percent of the nation's consumption (compared to 7.5 percent in Greece and 5.2 percent in the U.S.) while the wealthiest 20 percent consumed 35.4 percent (40.3 percent in Greece and 46.4 percent in the U.S.). Slovenia's Gini index in 1995 was 26.8, while Greece's was 32.7, and the United States' was 40.8. Economic growth over the next decade and the accession to the European Union will further increase living standards for the Slovenes.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, Slovenia is a leader among Eastern European countries measured by its human development index, almost equaling those of the poorer members of the EU.
Working conditions are considerably better in Slovenia than in many other Eastern European countries. The rate of registered unemployment decreased from 14.5 percent in 1998 to 11.7 percent in 2000, its lowest level for 8 years. The official figures may overstate the level of unemployment since periodic surveys, conducted according to the International Labor Office methodologies, have reported lower estimates, and Slovenia may in fact be approaching full employment . Of greater concern to the government, however, in the light of EU employment directives, is structural unemployment . An impediment to job creation is the apparent lack of labor mobility , which has prevented workers from moving from rural higher-unemployment areas in the poorer east of the country to areas such as Ljubljana, where full employment has in effect already been attained. This is one of the reasons for the high number of vacancies, at around 11,500 in July 2000, compared to the number of the unemployed.
A minimum wage agreement reached in 1999 between the government, employers, and trade unions linked rises in base wages to the pace of inflation as of the December 1999 level. Once prices reach at least 4 percent above that level, base wages will rise by 85 percent of the price rise. If prices rise 5 percent above that level, base wages would be fully reindexed in line with inflation. Public-sector wages are strongly correlated with base wages, but manufacturing wages are less responsive to their changes. In September 2000, the government granted doctors' wage demands that may prompt other public-sector employees to demand increases. Inflation has also convinced the government to tie pensions to the base wages and raise them accordingly over time. The EU has been concerned about the "inflexibility" of the Slovenian labor market, which allegedly will impair the ability of the country to compete in the single European market. However, the government has been extremely careful not to jeopardize the existing consensual support for market reforms by putting too much strain on workers and pensioners .
Slovenia has signed all major universal and regional legal instruments regarding labor, including as the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as treaties on the right to equal compensation and collective bargaining and against employment discrimination.
COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
6TH CENTURY A.D. Slavs settle in present Slovene lands, comprising parts of the ancient Roman provinces of Pannonia and Noricum, driving out Avar tribesmen. Bavarian domination brings most of the population into Roman Catholicism.
623. Chieftain Franko Samo creates the first independent Slavic state, stretching from Lake Balaton (now in Hungary) to the Adriatic Sea, but it later disintegrates.
8TH CENTURY. The region is taken over by the Frank-ish Empire, and a feudal agrarian economy takes root.
10TH CENTURY. The Duchy of Carantania is formed in the region, which is included in the Holy Roman Empire.
1335-1918. Slovenes are governed by the Habsburgs of the Austrian (later Austro-Hungarian) Empire. The majority of them live in parts of the Austrian crown lands of Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria. A minority of Slovenes along the coast of the Adriatic Sea remain in the republic of Venice, which later, too, is incorporated into the Habsburg Empire.
1918. Austria-Hungary collapses at the close of World War I, and the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia) is formed with much enthusiasm, but soon many Slovenes find themselves dis-enchanted with the new regime.
1918-1929. Dissatisfaction with the Serb-dominated centralist policy of the kingdom grows as a political crisis brings about a dictatorial Serbian monarchist regime and the abolishment of the traditional provinces. The country is renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929.
1941. Yugoslavia collapses in World War II, and Germany (which has annexed Austria in 1938), Italy, and Hungary divide the territory of Slovenia and force the transfers of population.
1945. Slovenia is liberated and Josip Broz Tito's communist government proclaims the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. The Slovenian republic is then created as a member of the new federation and included in Yugoslavia's socialist economy. Heavy industry develops, but, since the late 1950s, economic control is decentralized, and some private initiative is allowed. Slovenes enjoy more affluent lives and more freedom of travel and communication than other Eastern European nations.
1947. Slovenia acquires Slovenian-speaking districts on the Adriatic Sea in Istria from Italy.
1980-1990. Slovenia's dissatisfaction with the Yugoslav federation after Tito's death increases sentiment for greater autonomy and later for independence. The economy opens further to neighboring Italy and Austria.
1990. Communist power collapses throughout Eastern Europe, and Slovenia holds the first multiparty elections in Yugoslavia since World War II in April, and votes for independence in a December referendum.
1991. Slovenia declares independence from Yugoslavia in June. The Serb-dominated Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) sends forces in an attempt to secure Yugoslavia's borders. In a 10-day war, Slovene forces defeat the JNA, allowing Slovenia to quickly secure independence and international recognition. It later displays a steady pattern of political and economic continuity, almost unseen in other parts of Eastern Europe.
1991. The new democratic constitution is adopted.
1992. The European Union and the United States acknowledge the independence of Slovenia, and it joins the United Nations and the Council of Europe. Milan Kucan, president of the republic since 1990, is reelected to the office by 64 percent of the vote. The center-left Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), headed by Janez Drnovsek, wins a plurality of seats in parliament.
1993. Slovenia joins the International Monetary Fund.
1996. Slovenia signs the association agreement and applies for membership to the European Union.
1997. President Kucan reelected to a third term; Slovenia is invited to EU accession.
Slovenia's economic policy after 2000 will be mostly determined by government negotiations for full EU membership. Slovenia will be included in the first wave of the EU enlargement, along with Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Estonia. But the government will have to speed up structural reforms in order to maintain the momentum of its drive for accession. It will probably focus initially on the long-delayed privatization of the banking sector. The 2 largest state-owned banks, Nova Ljubljanska Banka and Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor, may be sold in the second half of 2001. The government may also come under pressure from the EU to deregulate more actively. However, the principal immediate challenge facing the new government will be to take control of the budget, following some excesses in spending in 2000. The Bank of Slovenia will have no serious problems in maintaining its tight monetary policy in order to oppose concerns fueled by the rise of inflation in 2000 and the risk of a possible wage hike.
The relative strength of the global economy and particularly of the EU will boost Slovenia's growth prospects over the next several years. Its trade deficit may remain large but will imply a decrease relative to GDP, reflecting a gradual improvement in the terms of trade, as fuel prices fall and the euro recovers. The current-account deficit may still rise because of the gradual deterioration in the services balance as Slovene businesses become more dependent on foreign services, as well as in the income balance in response to its rising debt-service costs. This will pose no serious threats to Slovenia's economic stability and living standards.
Although Slovenia's foreign policy since independence has focused on building up relations with Western Europe, the country stands to benefit if, as seems possible, Vojislav Kostunica's victory in the Yugoslav presidential election of 2000 leads to peace in the Balkans. Slovenia's political risks will certainly decrease as the probability of a resumption of fighting in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be further reduced. Kostunica's victory also increases the chances of a final agreement being reached on the issue of Yugoslav succession. But Slovenia's main benefits are likely to come through increased trade and equity investments in the rest of former Yugoslavia. Many local companies, ranging from retailer Mercator to brewery Pivovarna Lasko, have invested primarily in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and, to a much lesser extent, in Macedonia. Some Slovene companies, such as SKB Banka, have negotiated to go into Montenegro as well. Most of the deals have so far been relatively small, but, with the larger reconstruction efforts in the framework of the regional Stability Pact, new investment opportunities may occur.
Slovenia has no territories or colonies.
Hafner, Danica Fink, and John R. Robbins, eds. Making a New Nation: The Formation of Slovenia. Hanover, New Hampshire: Dartmouth University Press, 1997.
The Economist Intelligence Unit. Slovenia. <http://www.eiu.com>.Accessed December 2000.
United States Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed November 2001.
United States Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Slovenia. Online, 2000. <http://www.state.gov>. Accessed December 2000.
Slovene tolar (SIT). One tolar (SIT) equals 100 stotins. There are coins of 50 stotins, and 1, 2, and 5 tolars, and notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 tolars.
Manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food.
Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, chemicals, fuels and lubricants, food.
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:
US$22.9 billion (2000 est.).
BALANCE OF TRADE:
Exports: US$8.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000). Imports: US$9.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000).
"Slovenia." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/economics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
|Official Country Name:||Republic of Slovenia|
|Region (Map name):||Europe|
|Area:||20,253 sq km|
|GDP:||18,129 (US$ millions)|
|Number of Daily Newspapers:||5|
|Circulation per 1,000:||215|
|Number of Nondaily Newspapers:||14|
|Circulation per 1,000:||267|
|Total Newspaper Ad Receipts:||4,935 (Tolar millions)|
|As % of All Ad Expenditures:||12.10|
|Number of Television Stations:||48|
|Number of Television Sets:||710,000|
|Television Sets per 1,000:||367.9|
|Number of Cable Subscribers:||322,200|
|Cable Subscribers per 1,000:||161.1|
|Number of Satellite Subscribers:||270,000|
|Satellite Subscribers per 1,000:||139.9|
|Number of Radio Stations:||177|
|Number of Radio Receivers:||805,000|
|Radio Receivers per 1,000:||417.1|
|Number of Individuals with Computers:||548,000|
|Computers per 1,000:||283.9|
|Number of Individuals with Internet Access:||300,000|
|Internet Access per 1,000:||155.4|
Background & General Characteristics
Slovenia is a democratic state in the former Yugoslavia that has fostered a liberal and diverse press. Compared to neighbors to the south, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Slovenian press has for centuries been fairly uncensored and unrestricted by government. During the period in which Slovenia was under communist rule, the press was still the most liberal among eastern-European nations. Since the country adopted its Constitution in 1994, the press has been guaranteed freedoms like those in Western democracies, although perhaps out of habit and tradition, media professionals continue to censor themselves.
Slovenia is a country of readers. In a population of nearly 2 million citizens, circulation for all printed media is around 6 million.
Nature of Audience
Slovenia's proximity to Italy, Hungary, and Austria make for a diverse population with many ethnic and linguistic influences. The official language is Slovene, which is spoken almost strictly by those who live in Slovenia, with the exception of pocket communities in Italy along the Slovenia border.
During times when Slovenia was occupied by the Turks in the 15th century, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy in the 19th century, and the Serbs in the 20th century, early newspaper pioneers established news presses strictly for the purpose of maintaining the Slovene language and culture. For a time in the 20th century, Austria annexed a large part of Slovenia, and the region joined the Kingdom of Yugoslavia during the Second World War. In 1941 the Liberation Front of the Slovene Nation was founded and began armed resistance against the German occupying forces. The Communist Party soon adopted the leading role within the Liberation Front, and at the end of the war the ethnic Slovenians were liberated. In 1943 the nation joined the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and Slovenia was known as the Socialist Republic of Slovenia.
Slovenia gained its independence late in the 20th century. The movement for independence was first made in 1987 by a small group of intellectuals. The group made demands for democratization and resisted the Yugoslavian government after the arrest of three journalists from the Mladina, a political weekly.
In 1988 and 1989 Slovenia produced its first political opposition parties, and in 1989 demanded a sovereign state. In 1990 the first elections in Slovenia took place, and more than 88 percent of the electorate voted for independence. The country adopted its declaration of independence in June 1991, and the very next day the country was attacked by the Yugoslav Army. After a brief 10-day war, a truce was negotiated. In November of that year a law on denationalization was adopted, followed by a new Constitution in December. The country's liberal and relatively free press was credited as much for the successful transition as were the country's economic stability and unification through language.
Slovenia is an educated, financially stable, and literate country. This is good for the newspaper industry as a whole. Slovenians are not only literate, but are well read and tend to get their news from more than one print source. In the 1980s Slovenia published more new titles per capita than any other European country. While Slovenia no longer boasts holding the record in publishing, its root of diverse publishing and avid readership are still strong.
Nearly one-third of Slovenian households are connected to the Internet, and 450,000 citizens are regular users of the Internet.
The country underwent a massive reorganization of its public school system in the 1990s to ensure its citizens could exercise their rights to free education. The average number of years Slovenians attend school is 9.6 and compared to similar nations ranked behind Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Israel and Hungary.
The country's stable economy and government has enabled Slovenia to successfully transition from communism to a capitalist democracy easier than the other former Hungarian states, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This strong economy has also enabled the print and broadcast media to stay afloat financially, as domestic and foreign advertisers view the Slovenian market as attractive.
Quality of Journalism
A free press has come at a price to Slovenian journalism. Prior to the nation gaining sovereignty, many newspapers and other media were subsidized heavily by the government and by political parties. But capitalism has established the standard that media outlets become financially viable or fail. This move to privatization has created problems the government and the media professionals had not anticipated.
Government ownership ended in 1991 and, following the media laws that were established in 1994, in most cases the media professionals became stockholders in their own companies. This policy eventually created a conflict of interest in journalistic ethics. At the same time, the quality of journalism began to suffer without subsidies because very few publications could survive and compete with the existing government owned media and the already well-established publications such as Delo.
Some observers believe the decline in the quality of Slovenian media began before the nation gained sovereignty, and declined further when the press lost government subsidies. Print media was instrumental in the country's first free elections in 1990, and some newspapers suffered government scorn following the elections, depending upon which political ideology and party it endorsed. The media was so accustomed to close relationships with the established government it began censoring itself. Today the press is legally free from government control, but the Slovenian government owns stock in several large newspapers, creating an environment in which publishers are potentially fearful of provoking its stockholders in government. The arrangement has a chilling effect on the media's coverage of its parliament.
Following the country's success in gaining independence, the mood of the country was generally Xenophobic—fearful of strangers and foreigners. Following the country's short battle for independence, masses of legal and illegal immigrants as well as refugees from nearby Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were deported. Even those non-Slovenians who had lived in Slovenia their entire lives were suddenly and unexpectedly deported. In an environment where nationalism is so pervasive, criticizing the government often creates backlash from readers and advertisers, deepening the chilling effects that prevent scrutinizing the country's leadership.
In general relations with foreign press correspondents are poor, but relations with the press in the former Yugoslavian states are especially poor. Slovenian news tends to center around Slovenian issues, and these are presented predominately with nationalist and ethnocentric perspectives. This environment stands in sharp contrast to the 1980s, when alternative and student presses launched the revolution that led to independence.
Journalism training is both fragmented and inadequate at most Slovenian colleges and universities. Journalist trade unions are also weak and unorganized. The Union of Slovenian Journalists, the Coordinating Center for Independent Media, the Slovenian Open Society Institute, and the International Federation of Journalist Balkan Coordinating Centre for Independent Media, however, have made strides in improving unions and education.
Slovenia's press dates back to the Reformation era of the fifteenth century. Following a number of Reformation papers and German newspapers, the first Slovenian paper, the Lublanske novice (The Ljubljana News), was published from 1797 to 1900. The reign of the Lublanske novice is considered Slovenia's period of enlightenment, which was shaped in part by the paper's founder, Lanentin Vodnik, who is today considered one of the most influential newsmen in the country's history. The period's second most influential newspaper, published from 1843 to 1902, the Kmetijske in rokodelske novice (The Farmer's and Craftsman's News), was founded by Janez Bleiweis. The paper was the catalyst for other publishers to distribute newspapers during the 60-year period. Of the 292 newspapers published during the Second World War, 48 of these were launched during this earlier period. Furthermore, the newspapers published between the Second World War and the 1980s were instrumental in laying the groundwork and setting the tone for a country which would break free from communist leadership and establish a democratic parliament.
Slovenia has a handful of major daily newspapers and two major weekly political magazines Mag and Mladina, all of which are published in the Slovene language. The largest of the Slovene dailies is Delo, which claims a readership of about half of all print newspapers distributed. The second largest is the Slovenske novice, originally published as a supplement to Delo. Another major daily, Dnevnik, is independently owned. Vecer is the fourth largest daily in Slovenia. All the current major news dailies were the largest papers before the country gained independence, and held their market shares in the post-communist society.
The major papers have enjoyed little competition from upstart papers. In 1997 two dailies were launched— Slovenec and Republika —but both quickly collapsed. This led critics to point to the necessity of increased government subsidy of newspapers in order to offer citizens a more diverse media landscape.
Delo is the largest Slovene daily, with 150 reporters and 10 foreign correspondents. It is also one of the oldest newspapers in Slovenia, existing for more than 50 years. It covers Slovenian affairs in what it calls a "nonpartisan manner," although observers maintain it has not strayed far from its communist beginnings. The paper is typical because it's employees are the primary shareholders, owning more than half of the paper's shares. The government owns the maximum amount of shares allowed by law, 20 percent.
Foreign publications and broadcasts are there for the recognized minorities in Slovenia. Hungarians and Italians operate broadcasting stations that are financially supported by the state. The Roma minority has two programs on local broadcast stations. The migrants from the former Yugoslav republics, however, have only small bulletins which are produced and distributed in individual communities.
The Slovenian Constitution provides for a free and open press. The law drafted in 1994 protects media independence, but allows lawsuits from those who perceive harmed from the media similar to the United States' libel laws. The law also offers journalists some protection when they have been accused of slander or libel. The new laws also address copyright, protection of personal data, and the degree to which government may be a stakeholder in the media. Journalists do not, however, have the expressed right to protect their sources, and journalists have been sued to convince them to reveal their sources.
The International Press Institute noted the law narrows the scope of individual journalists. The political elite and the communists generally still carry a great deal of influence over the media. Coverage of political agendas and events outside of the established governmental powers is largely left to the tiny segment of alternative media, which continue to struggle among the major publishing powerhouses.
Antitrust laws provide for pluralism of the media while other laws limit government ownership of shares, ownership of foreign capital, and connections between printed and broadcast media. Tax laws provide for lower rates for media entities. The government also subsidizes printing costs for newspapers and magazines.
Attitude toward Foreign Media
Foreign interests in Slovenian media have been somewhat limited. POP TV is financed by the Central European Media Enterprise, an international investor which is active in Estonia, Romania and Hungary. Channel A is owned by the Scandinavian Broadcasting Systems. Beyond these two examples, Slovenian public and commercial media is based and financed in Slovenia.
The Slovenian national press agency, Slovenska Tiskovna Agencija (STA) was started in 1991. There are also several smaller press agencies.
After Slovenia gained independence, the number of electronic and broadcast media establishments tripled. National channels are Radio Television Slovenia stations and Radio Television Koper-Capodistria, for the Italian minority. Slovenia's first national television channel began transmission in 1958. After 1986 national television developed programming with more national identity and more clearly became a reflection of Slovenian culture.
More than half the country has access to three commercial stations, TV3, POP TV, and Kanal A. POP TV and Kanal A are both owned by Super Plus Inc. but each channel has independent programming. Kanal A was Slovenia's first commercial television station and began broadcasting in 1989, immediately after Slovenia gained sovereignty. The other commercial stations obtained licenses in 1993. Kanal A was bought by Super Plus Inc. in October 2000. When POP TV began broadcasting in 1998, its presence was felt immediately, and it quickly became the nation's most popular station, knocking First Television Slovenia out of its prime position. POP TV garnered more than 60 percent of viewers between ages 10 and 75, while the First Television Slovenia Channel had 42 percent in 2001. Kanal A attracts 27 percent and Second Television Slovenia Channel had 15 percent. The evolution of cable in Slovenia led to the formation of local television stations. Currently, about 100 cable operators manage the country's cable television broadcasts.
Slovenia has 89 non-stop radio stations; 38 of these are commercial; 26 are local, regional and noncommercial; 15 are for Slovenes abroad; 2 are student stations; and 8 are public radio services. Radio Slovenia was founded in 1928. According to the government of Slovenia, in 2001 Slovenians listened to the radio an average of more than three hours daily. The most-listened to station is Val 202. Second is Radio Slovenia, which boasts more than 500,000 listeners.
The Slovenian media has, by law, the right to journalistic freedom. In practice however the habits and fears which accumulated over the 40 years prior to 1991 will fade at a slow pace. The Slovenian press could flourish and become one of the freest and most diverse in the world with further improvements to the media unions, communications education, and communications law.
"Media Policy: What is That?" AIM Press, 28 Dec. 1999. Available from www.aimpress.org.
Mekina, Igor. "Traps of a Small Market" AIM Press. 2001. Available from www.aimpress.org.
Moenik, Rastko and Brankica Petkovic. "Country Reports on Media," Education and Media in Southeast Europe. 9 May 2000.
Slovene Government Web site. Available from www.sigov.si.
The State Department, U.S. Bureau of Democracy. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices," 25 Feb.2000.
"Slovenia." World Press Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/media/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
RecipesGolaz (Goulash) ........................................................ 144
Baked Mushrooms with Cheese................................. 145
Deep-Fried Potatoes.................................................. 145
Jota ........................................................................... 146
Klobasa and Kisdo Zelje (Sausage and Sauerkraut)..... 146
Dandelion Salad........................................................ 147
Potica (Slovenian Nut Roll)........................................ 147
Slovenian Almond Bars.............................................. 148
1 GEOGRAPHIC SETTING AND ENVIRONMENT
Slovenia is located in central Europe and shares boundaries with Austria (north), Hungary (east), Croatia (south), and Italy (west). It has a small coastal area in the southwest region, which borders the Adriatic Sea.
Next to Italy in the west are the Julian Alps and various mountains and valleys with numerous rivers in the east.
The climate in the coastal strip of Slovenia is determined by the Mediterranean Sea. Its inland climate ranges from mild to hot summers, with cold winters in the valleys and plateaus of the east.
2 HISTORY AND FOOD
From as early as the a.d. 800s, Slovenia has fallen under foreign control, gaining its independence only in 1991. For over 1,000 years, Slovenes lived mostly under German rule as part of the Holy Roman (962–1806), Austrian (1806–1867), and Austro-Hungarian (1867–1918) empires. World War II (1939–1945) divided present-day Slovenia among German, Italian, and Hungarian powers. Each of these countries, along with neighboring Austria to the north, has contributed significantly to Slovene cuisine.
German cuisine is typically heavy in meats and starches, which has carried over to Slovene cuisine. Germans relied on pork, sauerkraut, and potatoes for a majority of their dishes, as seen in present-day Slovene meals.
Austria, located north of present-day Slovenia, brought klobasa (a type of sausage), breaded, and pastry items, such as zavitek (strudels) to Slovene cooking.
Hungarian influences included golaz (goulash), paprikas (chicken or beef stew), and palacinke, which are thin pancakes filled with nuts or jam and topped with chocolate.
Italian pastas, such as njoki (potato dumplings), rizota (risotto), and zlikrofi, similar to ravioli, became part of the Slovene diet as well.
3 FOODS OF THE SLOVENES
Slovene cooking has over 30 different regional cuisines, influenced greatly by Slovenia's neighboring countries. While there is a sufficient amount of poultry, dairy products, and potatoes, much of the land in Slovenia is not suited for producing crops. Basic foods, such as oil, wheat, sugar, and meat are imported.
Slovene foods are often simple and hearty. Many dishes are made with cream, such as mushroom soup, and pork sour soup. Horseradish with cream, a specialty of northeastern Slovenia, is often served with beef dishes. Chicken paprika is a creamy sauce made with spicy, red paprika served over noodles or dumplings.
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds beef stew meat
- 1 can beef broth
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups cooked egg noodles
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the beef and cook until sides are browned.
- Add beef broth, onion, tomato paste or ketchup, paprika, salt, and pepper.
- In a bowl, mix the water and flour, stirring to remove lumps. Stir the flour mixture into the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, or until meat is tender; stir occasionally.
- Serve over hot noodles.
Makes 5 to 6 servings.
Breads and potatoes are the staple foods of Slovenia. Potica (po-TEET-sa) is the most common type of pastry—a nut roll wrapped around a variety of fillings, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, or raisins. Potatoes are served boiled, sautéed, deep-fried, or roasted. They are used in such dishes as fruit dumplings, soups, and stews, such as jota (a hearty meat and vegetable stew). Mushrooms are a large part of Slovene cuisine, and picking wild mushrooms has become a popular occupation. In fact, the government had to pass a law limiting the amount of mushrooms picked to keep some species from becoming extinct.
Baked Mushrooms with Cheese
- 1 8-ounce container of mushrooms
- ¼ pound Muenster cheese, sliced
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Wash the mushroom caps under running water, and remove the stems. Dry with paper towels.
- Cut the cheese into squares to fit between two mushroom caps.
- Make a "sandwich" of two mushroom caps with one square of sliced cheese between them.
- Secure with a toothpick, and place the mushrooms into greased pie plate or baking dish.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes about 15 to 20 snacks (depending on the number of mushrooms in the package).
- 2 large potatoes, thinly sliced
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat.
- Slowly add the potato slices and fry until golden brown. Be careful of the hot oil, as it may sizzle and spurt when the potatoes are added.
- Remove potato slices and drain on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with Klobasa and Kisdo Zelje (Sausage and Sauerkraut; see recipe) for a complete Slovene meal.
- 1¾ cup sauerkraut, drained
- ¾ cup canned red kidney beans, drained
- 1½ cups potato, cut into chunks
- 1½ cups ham or pork
- 4 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- ¼ cup shortening
- 2 teaspoons flour
- ¾ cup sour cream
- Fill a large pot with water, and bring to a boil. Add the sauerkraut, beans, potatoes, and meat. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add the garlic and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a frying pan, melt the shortening over medium heat. Sauté the onions, about 3 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook about 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the onion and flour mixture to the stew. Stir and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.
- Just before serving, add the sour cream and stir. Heat over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
Pork is the main meat eaten by a majority of Slovenes. Koline, the time in winter when pigs are slaughtered and a variety of pork products are prepared, is a major undertaking for Slovene farmers. Blood (or black) pudding is the name of a type of sausage made from a mixture of blood, intestines, millet (a type of grain), buckwheat porridge, and seasonings. Traditionally, neighbors exchanged this sausage with each other, since each farm family had its own unique recipe.
Other pork dishes are zelodec (filled pork stomach), air-dried pork leg called prsut, and klobasa (sausage). Slovenian kranjske klobasa has a distinctive flavor that comes from its seasoning of rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Klobasa and Kisod Zelje (sausage with sauerkraut) makes for a filling lunch or dinner.
Klobasa and Kisdo Zelje (Sausage and Sauerkraut)
- 4 large klobasa (sausage links)
- 2 cans sauerkraut
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat a frying pan to medium heat and add the sausage. Cook until browned on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.
- Add the sauerkraut and garlic to the frying pan and cook over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the sausage and cover. Cook until sausage is thoroughly heated and cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Although meat and starchy foods prevail in Slovene cooking, vegetables, especially cabbage, are used in various ways. Common cabbage dishes are sauerkraut, sweet-and-sour cabbage, and raw cabbage salad. A salad of cucumbers, sliced onions, vinegar, and oil may accompany a meal. Dandelion salad is popular as well. Dandelion shoots are considered a springtime delicacy.
- 1½ pounds dandelion shoots or leaves (any flat-leaved lettuce may be substituted)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled
- 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt to taste
- Several hours before serving the salad (or even the day before), prepare potatoes. Cut the potatoes into quarters and put them into a saucepan. Cover with water, heat the water to boil, and simmer the potatoes until they can be pierced with a fork (about 15 minutes). Drain and cool.
- To prepare the salad: Place the dandelion shoots or leaves, potatoes, egg, and garlic in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing: Mix the vinegar, oil, and salt. Pour over the dandelion mixture and toss.
4 FOOD FOR RELIGIOUS AND HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS
The majority (about 90 percent) of Slovenes are Roman Catholic Christian. Christmas is a widely celebrated but simple affair in Slovenia, where a family's main focus is spending time together. The gifts that are exchanged are usually food, with candy treats for children. The Christmas dinner table is filled with traditional foods, such as pork or turkey, along with delicacies, such as smoked meats. Potica (nut bread), sarkelj (raisin cake), and other freshly baked goods may be eaten as well. Other religious holidays, such as Easter and All Saints Day, are also celebrated.
- 2 Tablespoons yeast
- 1½ cups milk, room temperature
- 3½ cups flour
- ½ cup, plus 1 cup sugar
- 7 Tablespoons (about 1 stick) butter, room temperature
- 4 egg yolks, beaten
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 4 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2½ cups ground walnuts
- 4 egg whites, beaten
- Separate the eggs, keeping the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the yeast with the milk.
- Add ½ cup of the sugar, salt, and flour and mix to form a dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place, about 30 minutes.
- Prepare the filling by creaming the butter, 1 cup sugar, and egg yolks together.
- Add the cinnamon, cream, and ground walnuts.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- On a floured surface, roll out the dough. to form a large rectangle. Spread the filling in the center of the dough.
- Roll up the dough, jelly-roll fashion, and place, seam side down, onto a cookie sheet. Using a clean pastry brush, brush the pastry with egg white.
- Bake for 1 to 1½ hours, or until golden brown.
Serves 12 to 14.
Slovenian Almond Bars
- 1 cup flour
- ¾ cup almonds, ground
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup butter or margarine, room temperature
- 4 egg whites
- 4 squares chocolate bar, grated
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Separate 4 eggs, discarding the yolks but keeping the whites in bowl.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, ground almonds, powdered sugar, butter or margarine, egg whites, and chocolate. Mix well.
- Spread the mixture evenly into a buttered 8-inch square baking pan.
- Brush the top with the beaten egg.
- Bake for about 40 minutes. Cool to room temperature and cut into squares.
Makes about 32 pieces.
Besides religious holidays, Slovenes observe seasonal celebrations with parades, carnivals, and masquerade balls. St. Martin's Day is in November, celebrating the day when grape juice officially becomes new wine. Along with drinking wine, dishes such as roast goose, sweet and sour cabbage, and mlinci may be eaten. Mlinci is a flat, thin dough that has been baked, broken up, covered with boiling water, drained, then roasted with meat, usually goose. Gibanica —a layer cake with cottage cheese, walnuts, poppy seeds, and apples—may be eaten as well.
5 MEALTIME CUSTOMS
Slovenes typically eat three mealseach day, with lunch being the most important. Zajrtk (breakfast) is usually kava (coffee) or tea, and rolls with butter and jam. Zemlja, a type of hard roll, is common. Salami, cheese, and soft-boiled or fried eggs may be served as well. Some Slovenes skip breakfast and just drink strong coffee. Children may drink hot chocolate.
Around 10 a.m. most Slovenes take a morning break and have a substantial snack. People who are working might buy a hot dog with red pepper relish, a ham sandwich, or other snack from a street vendor. They also might stop at a cafeteria-style restaurant for bean stew or soup. Those whose schedule is more leisurely might pause at a pastry shop for some type of sweet pastry. Sok (fruit juice), coffee, or tea are the most common beverages.
Lunch, served anytime from 12 noon to 3 p.m., usually starts with soup. The menu is likely to include a meat dish; a starch—such as potatoes, dumplings, or pasta; vegetables; and a salad—such as fancoska solate (cubed potatoes and vegetables with mayonnaise). Sometimes, a salad bowl is shared by whoever is close. Serving bowls set on the table may be without serving utensils, so diners help themselves with their own fork or spoon. Bread almost always accompanies both lunch and dinner. When a meal is taken at a restaurant, the waitress expects the diners to report the number of slices of bread they consumed during their meal. To drink at lunch or dinner, there is usually wine or beer. Non-alcoholic drinks, such as fruit juices, and malinovec, a drink made with raspberry syrup may be served. Young Slovenes especially like popular carbonated drinks.
Dinner dishes are similar to lunch dishes, but are generally lighter. Salads and yogurt, accompanied by leftovers from lunch, are typical. When invited to dinner, Slovenes consider it courteous to bring small gifts. Flowers and wine are usually given to the host, and candy is offered to children. It is considered rude to refuse any food that is offered.
Eating at restaurants is considered expensive by the Slovenes, and therefore is typically only done on special occasions or for celebrations; however, many Slovenes frequenly enjoy a meal at a gostilna (local pub), where traditional foods and pastries are served. The traditional Sunday lunch in a gostilna may include beef or chicken soup with homemade noodles, pork or veal roast, sautéed or roasted potatoes, salad and potica or strudel for dessert. Young Slovenes may go out for pizza and enjoy eating at fast food places.
6 POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND NUTRITION
Only about 28 percent of Slovenia's land is suitable for agriculture. The country is among one of Europe's most heavily forested areas. The rugged landscape, altitude, poor soil conditions, and climate are very unfavorable for agriculture. While there is sufficient production of poultry, dairy products, and potatoes, Slovenes import many basic foods, such as vegetable and olive oil, wheat, sugar, and meat, resulting in high prices for food.
Despite having to import many food products, almost all Slovenes receive adequate nutrition in their diets. The government provides a system of family allowances and benefits to those in need. The constitution provides for special protection against economic, social, physical, or mental mistreatment or abuse of Slovene children.
7 FURTHER STUDY
Hawthorn, Vic., Slovenia. Australia; Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet Publications, 1995.
Woman's Glory, the Kitchen. Chicago, IL: Slovenian Women's Union of America, 1953.
Mat Kurja—A Guide to Virtual Slovenia. [Online] Available http://www.matkurja.com/eng/country-info/food-drinks/ (accessed August 17, 2001).
Slovenia in Sydney. [Online] Available http://www.uvi.si/sydney2000/eng/sloveniangostilna/index.html (accessed April 19, 2001).
Slovene Cooking. [Online] Available http://slovenija.turistika.net/slokuh-e.htm (accessed August 17, 2001).
"Slovenia." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/food/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/food/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
Official name: Republic of Slovenia
Area: 20,253 square kilometers (7,820 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Mount Triglav (2,864 meters/9,396 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 1 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: 163 kilometers (101 miles) from north to south; 248 kilometers (154 miles) from east to west
Land boundaries: 1,165 kilometers (724 miles) total boundary length; Austria 330 kilometers (205 miles); Hungary 102 kilometers (63 miles); Croatia 501 kilometers (311 miles); Italy 232 kilometers (144 miles)
Coastline: 46.6 kilometers (29 miles)
Territorial sea limits: Not available
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Slovenia lies at the northwestern end of the Balkan Peninsula, at the intersection of Central Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Balkans. It covers an area (20,253 square kilometers/7,820 square miles) slightly greater than the state of New Jersey.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Slovenia has no territories or dependencies.
The average January and July temperatures in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, are –1°C (30°F) and 20°C (68°F), respectively. Each year, Ljubljana experiences about 90 days that are colder than 0°C (32°F) and about 61 days that are hotter than 25°C (77°F). Ljubljana receives about 139 centimeters (55 inches) of rain each year, with 28 percent of the total occurring between April and June.
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
Slovenia has a short coastline on the Adriatic Sea in the southwest, but the Alps are the dominant topographic feature throughout most of the country, especially in the north and south. In the east is the Pannonian Plain.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Slovenia has only about 47 kilometers (29 miles) of coastline, all of which is on the Gulf of Venice at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
The sea around Cape Madonna near Piran reaches depths of 37 meters (120 feet) and is a national marine reserve.
Slovenia's only beaches are near Koper; the coast between Izola and Piran is lined with steep cliffs that reach up to 80 meters (260 feet).
6 INLAND LAKES
Slovenia's largest lake is Lake Cerknišco, which covers 24 square kilometers (9.3 square miles) and, as a karst lake, fills and drains periodically. Slovenia also has seventy-eight mineral and thermal springs, mostly situated in the Pannonian Plain.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Formed at the confluence of the Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka Rivers, the Sava River is the central waterway and the longest river in Slovenia, flowing through the country for 221 kilometers (137 miles). Its tributaries include the Trziska Bistrica, Savinja, Ljubljanica, and Krka Rivers. After the Sava, the largest rivers in Slovenia are the Drava and the Mura, both in the northeast. All of these rivers arise in the Alps throughout Slovenia, Austria, and Italy; they travel southeast into Croatia and eventually reach the Danube.
There are no deserts in Slovenia.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
Occupying the east and northeast region of Slovenia is the Pannonian Plain, which includes wide valley basins, alluvial plains, sandy dunes, and low, rolling hills. There are flat depressions in the limestone hills of the Dinaric Alps in the southwest. South of the northern Alps, the rough terrain of the west changes to hilly areas interspersed with flat valleys.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
The sharp peaks and ridges of the mountains in northern and northwestern Slovenia resemble the higher Austrian Alps to the north. The Julian Alps, which occupy the northwestern third of the country, are the highest of Slovenia's three alpine ranges and among the most rugged in Europe. Many summits here exceed 1,800 meters (5,900 feet), including Mount Triglav (2,864 meters/9,396 feet), the country's highest peak. The Karawanken Mountains run along the border with Austria; Mount Stol (2,236 meters/7,336 feet) is the highest peak in this system. The Kamnik-Savinja range lies south of the Karawankens. The ridges of mountains are less defined to the east. The Dinaric Alps run parallel to the coast in the southwest, with heights ranging from 700 meters (2,300 feet) to over 2,200 meters (7,200 feet).
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
There are many cliffs and depressions in Slovenia's rocky karst area. Slovenia has about sixty-five hundred karst caves; the largest of these is Postojna Cave, which extends for 19 kilometers (12 miles). Zupanova Cave, a small karst cave just southeast of Ljubljana, is filled with spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
The Kras Plateau in the west extends eastward into the limestone ranges of the Dinaric Alps. Frequently referred to as karst or karstland, this region contains underground drainage channels formed by the long-term seepage of water down through the soluble limestone. This erosion has resulted in extensive caves, caverns, and underground streams.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
Completed in 1971, a sluice at the entrance to the Karlovica Cave at Lake Cerknišco keeps the lake filled for at least six months of the year, aiding both the tourism and fishing industries. A dam built on the Drava River near the city of Ptuj in the northeastern part of the country created the largest reservoir in Slovenia. One of the most famous features of Ljubljana is the triple bridge that spans the Ljubljanica River in the heart of the capital city.
DID YOU KNOW?
The irregular limestone terrain known as karst gets its name from the Kras Plateau in Slovenia. Beginning in the Middle Ages with an ancient word for stone (karra ), the term was transformed from the Slovenian grast to the Croatian kras to the German karst, which became its final form.
14 FURTHER READING
Brân, Zoë. After Yugoslavia. Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 2001.
Fallon, Steve. Slovenia. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet, 1998.
Natek, Karel. Discover Slovenia. Translated by Martin Cregeen. Ljubljana: Cankarjeva Zalozba, 1999.
Slovene Government. http://www.sigov.si/vrs/ang/ang-text/index-ang.html (accessed April 16, 2003).
Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia: Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Slovenia 2000. http://www.gov.si/zrs/ (accessed April 16, 2003).
"Slovenia." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia-0
"Slovenia." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia-0
Slovenia (slōvē´nēə), Slovene Slovenija, officially Republic of Slovenia, republic (2005 est. pop. 2,011,000), 7,817 sq mi (20,246 sq km). It is bounded in the north by Austria, in the northeast by Hungary, in the southeast by Croatia, and in the west by Italy. It has a small strip of seacoast on the Adriatic. Ljubljana is the capital.
Land, People, and Economy
Most of Slovenia is situated in the Karst plateau and in the Julian Alps. The largely mountainous and forested republic is drained by the Drava and Sava rivers. Ljubljana, Maribor, and Celje are the chief cities. The Slovenes constitute more than 80% of the population, but there are also Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks. Almost 60% are Roman Catholic, and there are Muslim and Eastern Orthodox minorites.
Slovenia is the most industrialized and urbanized of all the former Yugoslav republics. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, Slovenia's economy grew and tourism increased markedly, unimpeded by the warfare that devastated other regions. Many state companies, however, were not privatized. That situation contributed to a recession in 2009 that was aggravated by excessive lending by state-controlled banks. The subsequent financial crisis led to the adoption of privatization measures in 2012, but the actual privatization of government-owned firms has moved slowly.
Iron, steel, aluminum, electronics, motor vehicles, electric power equipment, wood products, textiles, chemicals, and machine tools are the main industrial products. Farming and livestock raising are important occupations, with potatoes, hops, wheat, sugar beets, corn, and wine grapes the main crops. There are mineral resources of coal, lead, zinc, mercury, uranium, and silver. Exports include household appliances, machinery and transportation equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and food. Machinery, consumer goods, chemicals, and fuels are imported. The country's chief trading partners are Germany, Italy, Austria, France, and Croatia.
Slovenia is governed under the constitution of 1991. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and is eligible for a second term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly. There is a bicameral Parliament. Of the 90 members of the National Assembly, 40 are directly elected and 50 are elected on a proportional basis, all for four-year terms. Members of the 40-seat, advisory National Council are indirectly elected for five-year terms. Administratively, the country is divided into 182 municipalities and 11 urban municipalities.
In ancient times the region was inhabited by the Illyrian and Celtic tribes. In the 1st cent. BC they fell under the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Noricum. The region was settled in the 6th cent. AD by the South Slavs, who set up the early Slav state of Samo, which in 788 passed to the Franks. At the division of Charlemagne's empire (843) the region passed to the dukes of Bavaria. In 1335, Carinthia and Carniola passed to the Hapsburgs. From that time until 1918 Slovenia was part of Austria and the region was largely comprised in the Austrian crownlands of Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria. In 1918, Slovenia was included in the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (called Yugoslavia after 1929), and in 1919 Austria formally ceded the region by the Treaty of Saint-Germain.
In World War II Slovenia was divided (1941) among Germany, Italy, and Hungary. After the war, Slovenia was made (1945) a constituent republic of Yugoslavia and received part of the former Italian region of Venezia Giulia. In early 1990, Slovenia elected a non-Communist government and stepped up its demands for greater autonomy with the threat of possible secession. In Feb., 1991, the Slovenian parliament ruled that Slovenian law took precedence over federal law. Slovenia declared independence on June 25, and federal troops moved in, but after some fighting withdrew by July. Slovenia, along with Croatia, was recognized as an independent country by the European Community and the United Nations in 1992.
Milan Kučan was elected president of Slovenia in 1990 and continued as president of the independent republic; he was reelected in Nov., 1997. In 2002, Janez Drnovšek, a Liberal Democrat, was elected president after a runoff election; Drnovšek had been the country's prime minister. Slovenia became a member of NATO and the European Union in 2004, and adopted the euro as its currency three years later. Janez Janša became prime minister in Nov., 2004, heading a center-right coalition government.
A dispute over Slovenia's right to access to the Adriatic through waters that Croatia claims has been a source of tension between the two nations, and has led Slovenia to block some of the negotiations for Croatia's accession to the European Union. The countries agreed in Aug., 2007, to submit their boundary disputes to the International Court of Justice, and in Sept., 2009, Slovenia ended the freeze on Croatia's accession talks after an agreement stipulated that none of the documents associated with EU application would have any legal impact on the resolution of the border dispute. The agreement was ratified by parliament in Apr., 2010, and was approved in a June, 2010, referendum.
In Nov., 2007, Danilo Türk, a former diplomat and left-of-center candidate, was elected to succeed Drnovšek as president. The opposition Social Democrats won a plurality in Sept., 2008, parliamentary elections, and in November party leader Borut Pahor became prime minister of the four-party coalition government. Pahor's government lost its majority in June, 2011, when one party left the coalition, and subsequently lost a confidence vote in September. In the Dec., 2011, elections, Ljubljana's mayor Zoran Janković led Positive Slovenia, a new center-left party, to a narrow plurality, but Jansa became prime minister in Jan., 2012, after forming a five-party center-right coalition.
In the 2012 presidential election Pahor defeated Türk in a December runoff; Türk was hurt by the country's severe recession and voter apathy (only 42% of the electorate voted). In Jan., 2013, Jansa's coalition lost its majority after he was accused of corruption (he was convicted later in the year), and his minority government lost a confidence vote the following month. A center-left coalition government, with Alenka Bratušek of Positive Slovenia as prime minister, was formed in March. In Apr., 2014, however, she lost a party leadership contest to Janković, and resigned (May) as prime minister. The July election resulted in a plurality for the Miro Cerar party, headed by law professor Miro Cerar and formed six weeks before the election, and he became prime minster of a three-party coalition government in September.
"Slovenia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
Slovene 88%, Croat 3%, Serb 2%, Bosnian 1%
Roman Catholic 71%
Tolar = 100 stotin
"Slovenia." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
Slovenia is officially known as the Republic of Slovenia and called Slovenija by its residents.
Identification. Slovenia takes its name from the Slovenes, the group of South Slavs who originally settled the area. Eighty-seven percent of the population considers itself Slovene, while Hungarians and Italians constitute significant groups and have the status of indigenous minorities under the Slovenian Constitution, guaranteeing them seats in the National Assembly. There are other minority groups, most of whom immigrated, for economic reasons, from other regions of the former Yugoslavia after World War II.
Location and Geography. Slovenia is situated in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula and is bordered by Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the south and southeast, and Italy and the Adriatic Sea to the west. A mountainous country, Slovenia sits in the foothills of the eastern Alps just south of the Julian Alps, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Karawanken chain, and the Pohorje Massif on the Austrian border. The Adriatic coast of Slovenia is about 39 miles (50 kilometers) in length, running from the border with Italy to the border with Croatia. Slovenia's Kras plateau, between central Slovenia and the Italian frontier, is an interesting area of unusual geological formations, underground rivers, caves, and gorges. Three main rivers located in the northeast, the Mura, the Drava, and the Sava, provide valuable sources of water. On the Pannonian plain to the east and northeast, near the borders with Hungary and Croatia, the landscape is primarily flat. Nevertheless, the majority of the country is hilly to mountainous with about ninety percent of its land at least 650 feet (200 meters) above sea level. Slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey, Slovenia is approximately 7,906 square miles (20,273 square kilometers) in area. In addition to the capital, Ljubljana, other important cities include Maribor, Kranj, Novo Mesto, and Celje. Areas along the coast enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate while those in the mountains to the north have cold winters and rainy summers. The plateaus to the east, where Ljubljana is located, have a mild, more moderate climate with warm to hot summers and cold winters.
Demography. In 2000, Slovenia had an overall population of about 1,970,056 with an overall population density of 252 people per square mile (97 per square kilometer). The majority of the population was ethnically Slovene, a Slavic group. The rest of the population was made up of Croats (2.7 percent), Serbs (2.4 percent), Bosnians (1.3 percent), Hungarians (0.43 percent), Montenegrins (0.22 percent), Macedonians (0.22 percent), Albanians (0.18 percent) and Italians (0.16 percent). Almost half of all Slovenes live in urban areas, mostly in Ljubljana and Maribor, the two largest cities, with the rest of the population distributed throughout rural areas.
Linguistic Affiliation. The official language of the republic, Slovene, is a Slavic language. About 7 percent of the population speaks Serbo-Croatian. Most Slovenes speak at least two languages. Unlike other Slavic cultures, the Slovenes have been greatly influenced by German and Austrian cultures, a result of centuries of rule by the Austrian Habsburgs. Italian influence is evident in the regions that border Italy. These non-Slavic influences are reflected in the Slovene language, which is written in the Latin alphabet, while most Slavic languages use the Cyrillic alphabet. The variety of dialects is also a result of the shared borders with four different nations. During the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Slovenia's language, which had been considered a peasant language compared to the more prestigious German, was used by political and religious factions as an instrument of propaganda. Although initially a political tool, Slovene eventually gained a new level of prestige and provided a linguistic identity that helped shape Slovenia's national identity.
Symbolism. Two important national symbols are the linden tree and the chamois, a European antelope, both of which are abundant throughout the country. Slovenia's flag consists of three horizontal bands of white on the top, blue, and then red on the bottom with a shield in the upper left. On the shield are three white mountain peaks with three gold six-pointed stars above them. The stars were taken from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje, the Slovenian dynastic house of the late fourteenth–early fifteenth centuries.
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. Starting in the sixth century c.e., the area that is now Slovenia was perpetually invaded by the Avars, a Mongol tribe, who were in turn, driven out by the Slavs. In 623 c.e., chieftain Franko Samo created the first independent Slovene state, which covered an area from Lake Balaton, now located in Hungary, to the Mediterranean. This independent state persisted until the latter part of the eighth century when it was absorbed into the Frankish empire. In the tenth century, Slovenia fell under the control of the Holy Roman Empire and was reorganized as the duchy of Carantania by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I (912–973). With the exception of four years of rule by Napoléon (1809–1813), when, along with Croatia, it was a part of the Illyrian Provinces, Slovenia was a part of the Austrian Hapsburg Empire, from 1335 to 1918.
In 1918, at the end of World War I, Slovenia joined with other Slavic groups to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. Renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929 by a Serbian monarch, Slovenia and its neighboring Yugoslav states fell under Nazi Germany's control in World War II. Communist partisans, under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito, fiercely resisted the German, Italian, and Hungarian occupation, leading to the establishment of a socialist Yugoslavia toward the end of the war. During the postwar Communist period, Slovenia was the most prosperous region of Yugoslavia.
After Tito's death in 1980, serious disagreements and unrest among Yugoslavia's regions began to grow, and the central government in Belgrade sought to further strengthen its control. The local Slovene government resisted and in September 1989, the General Assembly of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia adopted an amendment to its constitution asserting the right of Slovenia to secede from Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence. A bloodless tenday war with Yugoslavia followed, ending in the withdrawal of Belgrade's forces and official recognition of Slovenia's status as an independent republic.
As a newly independent state, Slovenia has sought economic stabilization and governmental reorganization, emphasizing its central European heritage and its role as a bridge between eastern and western Europe. With its increased regional profile, including its status as a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council and as a charter member of the World Trade Organization, Slovenia plays an important role in world politics considering its small size.
National Identity. Under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Slovenia was a part of the Austrian crown lands of Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria, except for a minority of Slovenes living under the republic of Venice. During the Napoleonic Wars, when Slovenia was part of the Illyrian Provinces, a period of relative liberal rule helped fuel the growth of Slovene and Slav nationalism, which ultimately triumphed at the end of World War I. Despite forced transfers during World War II, most Slovenes have managed to remain in Slovenia, and in 1947 Istria, the Slovenian-speaking area of Italy on the Adriatic coast, also joined the republic. More than 87 percent of the population identifies itself as Slovene although minorities are an integral part of the society.
Ethnic Relations. Although Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia from 1918 to 1991, the country has always identified strongly with central Europe, maintaining a balance between its Slavic culture and language and Western influences. The ethnic conflicts and civil unrest that have plagued other regions of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and early twenty-first century, have been avoided in Slovenia. Conscious of its unique position as a bridge between east and west, Slovenia is developing its identity as a newly independent republic while maintaining a balanced relationship with the different cultures of its neighbors.
Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space
Slovenia's towns have many well-preserved buildings representing various styles of architecture dating from the 1100s on. Fine examples of Roman-esque architecture can be found throughout Slovenia, including the church at Sticna Abbey and Podsreda Castle. Architecture from the late Gothic period also survives. Many buildings in older sections of Slovenia's towns are in the Italian Baroque style, particularly in Ljubljana. After a serious earthquake in 1895, extensive sections of Ljubljana were rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style. Throughout Slovenia the focus of town life revolves around the older city centers, squares, churches, and marketplaces.
Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. Slovenia has a rich culinary tradition that is a product of both its climate and its location at the crossroads of central Europe. Slovene culinary heritage is reflective of Mediterranean, Alpine, and Eastern European cultures. Meals are an important part of Slovene family life, and enjoying a snack or a glass of wine at a café with friends is a typical social activity. Although every region in Slovenia has its own specialties, most of Slovenia's oldest traditional dishes are made using flour, buckwheat, or barley, as well as potatoes and cabbage. The town of Idrija, west of Ljubljana, is known for its idrija zlikrofi, spiced potato balls wrapped in thinly rolled dough, and zeljsevka, rolled yeast dough with herb filling. The town of Murska Sobota, Slovenia's northernmost city, is famous for its prekmurska gibanica, a pastry filled with cottage cheese, poppy seeds, walnuts, and apple. Slovenia also produces a variety of wines, an activity dating back to the days when the country was a part of the Roman Empire.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. There are some particular dishes prepared for special occasions including potica, a dessert with a variety of fillings, and braided loaves of traditional bread for Christmas. In country towns the slaughtering of a pig, all parts of which are used to make a variety of pork products, is still a major event.
Basic Economy. After its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia went through a period of transition as it adjusted to economic changes as a new, small republic moving away from socialism. Although the first few years were difficult, Slovenia has now emerged as one of the strongest economies among the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe. The economic outlook, however, remained unclear in the early twenty-first century as the rate of inflation hovered around 10 percent with unemployment at 14.5 percent. Slovenia's loss of its markets in the former Yugoslavia, which once accounted for 30 percent of its exports, has caused the country to modernize its factories and production methods as it seeks to attract foreign investment. Slovenia's growth rate in 2000 was estimated at 3.8 percent with per capita income around $9,000 (U.S.).
Land Tenure and Property. Primogeniture, inheritance by the oldest son, historically determined land distribution in Slovenia. Land and property were kept intact and passed down through families, a tradition that helped limit land fragmentation, which was common in other parts of the Balkans. Despite its years under Yugoslavia's socialist government, Slovenia's strong tradition of family-owned property helped it maintain its distribution of property. Agricultural land, accounting for almost 43 percent of the territory, and forests, covering more than half, make Slovenia the "greenest" country in Europe next to Finland. Nevertheless, 52 percent of Slovenes live in urban areas in small houses and apartment buildings. Formerly state-owned farms and land have been reprivatized.
Commercial Activities. Among the numerous commercial activities in Slovenia, many cater to tourism. Slovenia's proximity to the Alps and the Mediterranean, along with its climate, makes it a popular tourist destination. The business derived from tourist hotels, ski resorts, golf courses, and horseback-riding centers provides employment for a growing number of Slovenes.
Major Industries. Major industries include the production of electrical equipment, processed food, paper and paper products, chemicals, textiles, metal and wood products, and electricity. Other important industries include the manufacturing of shoes, skis, and furniture. Coal mines and steel mills continue to operate and new factories, such as the French Renault car assembly plant, reflect recent foreign investment in Slovenia.
Trade. Germany is Slovenia's most important trading partner both for exports and imports. Other important trading partners include Croatia, Italy, France, and Austria. Exports include chemical products, food and live animals, furniture, machinery, and transportation equipment. Slovenia imports manufactured products and consumer goods.
Division of Labor. In 1994 the process of privatizing state-owned businesses was begun and many Slovenes have taken advantage of these changes to become owners of or shareholders in companies. A large section of the population works in the tourism industry, but only one out of ten people work in agriculture. Many Slovenes, however, pursue small-scale agricultural activities, such as beekeeping and grape growing, as side businesses.
Classes and Castes. According to the 1998 census, 87 percent of people are Slovenes. There are approximately 8,500 ethnic Hungarians, 3,000 Italians, and 2,300 Gypsies living in Slovenia. The Hungarian and Italian populations are recognized by the government as indigenous minorities and are protected under the constitution. The Gypsies, however, are viewed with suspicion and are frequently targets of ethnic discrimination. Despite government attempts, past and present, to provide employment and increase school attendance among Gypsies, most of them continue to hold on to their nomadic way of life, shunning mainstream education and jobs. Since the start of civil unrest in other regions of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia has become a refuge for those escaping from both violence and poor economic conditions. There are also several thousand migrants from Croatia who enter Slovenia every day to work. The peasants, who once accounted for a large part of the population, decreased dramatically in numbers during the post-World War II era as Slovenia, along with the rest of Yugoslavia, underwent a rapid transformation from an agricultural to an industrial society. By the early 1980s, over half of agricultural workers were women. Postwar industrialization created a new class of workers, including government employees who achieved desirable positions through education and political connections. A small intellectual caste has been present in Slovenia since the nineteenth century. A large section of Slovenia's population is now a part of the well-educated, urban-dwelling middle class. Extreme class differences between rich and poor are not present.
Symbols of Social Stratification. Symbols of social stratification include the types of consumer goods found in many Western countries. As Slovenia's economy and standard of living have grown, the demand for and ability to purchase consumer goods have increased. Cars, electronic appliances, and clothing are the most immediate signs of social stratification and the new affluence.
Government. The process of government reform has been ongoing since the country's emergence as an independent nation in 1991. While some aspects of the former socialist rule have been maintained, the Slovene government has adopted several democratic measures, including a parliamentary form of government. A 1991 constitution guarantees basic civil rights, including universal suffrage for all Slovenes over the age of eighteen, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. The National Assembly, or Drzavni Zbor, has exclusive control over the passage of new laws and consists of ninety deputies elected for four years by proportional representation. There is also a forty-member Council of State, the Drzavni Svet, which functions as an advisory body and whose members are elected for five-year terms by region and special interest group. The president is the head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces and cannot be elected for more than two five-year terms. Executive power is held by the prime minister and a fifteen-member cabinet.
Leadership and Political Officials. The seven political parties in Slovenia support ideologies ranging from the far right to the center-left. In the 1996 parliamentary elections a centrist alliance of three parties gained the majority. President Milan Kucan was elected for a second term in 1997, and Janez Drnovsek has served as prime minister since the first elections were held in 1992.
Social Problems and Control. Important social problems and issues include the country's transition to a free market economy, an aging population (the average age for men is thirty-five, for women, thirty-eight), creating jobs for an educated population, and coping with the increasing number of migrant workers and refugees.
The crime rate is low but there has been a rise in organized and economic crime since Slovenia's independence and change to privatization. Money laundering is a particularly increasing problem. Slovenia's location between Italy, Austria, and Hungary puts it in the middle of international money-laundering schemes. The Slovene government is actively fighting the resulting problems.
Military Activity. Slovenia requires seven months of military service for all males at age eighteen. As of 1998, the country had an army of 9,550 active duty soldiers as well as a reserve force. A member of the United Nations, Slovenia has signed defense accords with Austria and Hungary.
Gender Roles and Status
Division of Labor by Gender. In Slovenia women comprise 45 percent of the overall workforce and more than 60 percent of the workforce in the agricultural sector. In addition, primary school teachers are almost exclusively women. Industrialization and education have dramatically changed women's roles in the workplace, but aspects of Slovenia's traditionally patriarchal society still persist. Women work primarily in three fields: cultural and social welfare, public services and administration, and the hospitality industry.
The Relative Status Women and Men. Although women were granted complete civil and political rights after World War II, feminist groups state that industrialization has not eradicated the traditional patriarchy but has only created a situation where women are exploited. Women are often treated as sex objects and are still expected to take care of all domestic matters even if they work full-time outside the home.
Marriage, Family and Kinship
Marriage. Despite years of socialism, Slovenian society is still oriented around the extended family. Rights and duties are more rigorously defined by family relationships than in the West. Although the average age for a first marriage has increased, marriage is considered important for maintaining and strengthening family bonds. Religious and cultural influences help keep the divorce rate low.
Domestic Unit. In urban areas, the domestic unit is typically married adults and their children, if they have any, and sometimes older relatives. In rural areas, extended families—often larger than those found in cities—live together or share property. Relatives who are unable to care for themselves usually reside with family members.
Kin Groups. Before the twentieth century, family-based organizations called zadruga held property and farmed land in common. Both formal and customary law determined the obligations and rights of zadruga members.
Child Rearing and Education. Education is mandatory and free until age fifteen. After this, students can choose a school that is more specialized if they wish to continue education. Most of the population has some basic education; another 42 percent have secondary schooling (past age fifteen at a high school; and approximately 9 percent receive higher, university education. There is a national, standardized curriculum. Competition for university places is strong. For Slovenes over ten years old, the literacy rate is placed at 99 percent.
Higher Education. Around 36 percent of the people receive postsecondary or higher levels of education. There are thirty institutions of higher learning but only two universities, the University of Ljubljana, founded in 1595, and the University of Maribor. Admittance to the universities is competitive but there are numerous schools that offer professional degrees. It is also possible to obtain a two-year "first stage" degree, equivalent to an associate degree, at the universities.
Religious Beliefs. The majority of Slovenes, approximately 71 percent, identify themselves as Roman Catholic; Roman Catholicism has undoubtedly influenced Slovene culture more than any other religious belief. Protestantism gained a strong position during the Reformation in the 1500s but later saw its numbers of practitioners diminish.
Eastern Orthodox Christians comprise 2.5 percent of the population, Protestants, 1 percent, and Muslims, 1 percent. Most of the Protestants belong to the Lutheran church in Murska Sobota. There was once a small Jewish population in Slovenia but Jews were banished from the area in the fifteenth century. Although the ruins of a synagogue can still be seen in Maribor, there is no longer an active Jewish temple anywhere in Slovenia today. The rabbi of Zagreb, Croatia, occasionally holds services for the tiny Jewish community that lives in Ljubljana.
Rituals and Holy Places. There are several churches that are considered pilgrimage sites and places of spiritual renewal. In Brezje, a basilica dedicated to Saint Vid was first established in the 1100s. At the center of this church is a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, with paintings by Leopold Layer. The Gothic church of Ptujska Gora, located on top of a mountain, was erected at the end of the fourteenth century and is famous for its beautiful altar. Another pilgrimage church is located at Sveta Gora in the foothills of the Alps. The feast days of the Virgin Mary are the central pilgrimage days for all three churches. There are two monasteries, Sticna Monastery and Pleterje Carthusian Monastery, which are open to visitors who often come not only for spiritual reflection but also to purchase the herbal remedies for which the monks are famous.
Medicine and Health Care
Health care is provided by the government for all of Slovenia's citizens. Life expectancy has increased and is almost at western European levels: seventy years for men and seventy-eight years for women. The birthrate is low, under 10 per 1,000 people, and infant mortality is 5.5 per 1,000 births.
Important secular celebrations include 8 February, Preseren Day, a Slovene cultural day; 1 May, worker's holiday; 25 June, Slovenia Day, and 26 December, Independence Day.
The Arts and Humanities
Support for the Arts. There is generally a strong interest in supporting the arts in Slovenia and enthusiastic patronage of cultural events. Under the Yugoslav socialist government, arts and culture received state support. As an independent nation, Slovenia is seeking to maintain the same level of support for the arts, although privatization is changing the way institutions and artists are funded.
Literature. Literature has always been enthusiastically supported in Slovenia, and with the country's high literacy rate, this interest continues to grow. The earliest written texts in Slovene, which were religious, date from around 970 c.e. The first published book in Slovene appeared in 1550, and in 1584 a Slovene grammar text and Bible were published. Until the late eighteenth century, however, almost all books published in Slovenia were in Latin or German. Slovenian literature flourished in the early 1800s during the Romantic period and began to develop an identity. During this period France PresNAeren, considered Slovenia's greatest poet, published his works. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Fran Levstik published his interpretation of oral Slovene folktales, and in 1866 Josip Juri published the first long novel completely in Slovene, entitled The Tenth Brother. Slovenian literature immediately before and after World War II was heavily influenced by socialist realism and the struggles of the war period. Various other literary styles, such as symbolism and existentialism, have influenced Slovene writers since the 1960s.
Graphic Arts. Slovenia has an unusual variety of art ranging from Gothic frescoes to contemporary sculpture. The late nineteenth century saw the rise of a Slovene Expressionist school led by the painter Boñidar Jakac. In the early twentieth century a new trend in art emerged as a group of artists joined to form the Club of Independents, some of whom continued working under Tito's socialist government. Slovenia has a small but vibrant art community today that is dominated by the multimedia group Neue Slowenische Kunst and a five-member artists' cooperative called IRWIN. There is also a rich tradition of folk art which is best exemplified by the painted beehives illustrated with folk motifs that are found throughout Slovenia.
Performance Arts. Folk music and dance are an important part of Slovenia's culture. The Institute of Music and National Manuscripts in Ljubljana maintains an archive of the wide variety of traditional songs and fables set to music. Folk dances are still a part of traditional celebrations, and the first ballet school, which was established in Slovenia in 1918 as a part of the Ljubljana Opera, continues to perform. Other dance companies, including contemporary and avant-garde, have also been formed.
The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
Slovenia has a strong tradition in the sciences, with several important figures, including Janez Vajkard Valvasor, a seventeenth-century mathematician and Fritz Pregl, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1923. The Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences has a research center with fourteen institutes conducting research on all aspects of science, history, and culture.
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U.S. Department of State Bureau of European Affairs. Background Notes: Slovenia. Electronic document. Available from: http://www.state.gov/www.background_notes/slovenia;_9902_bgn.html
—M. Cameron Arnold
"Slovenia." Countries and Their Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." Countries and Their Cultures. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
The people of Slovenia are called Slovenes. Almost 90 percent of the the population trace their heritage to Slovenia. Among minority groups, Croats comprise 3 percent and Serbs, 2 percent.
"Slovenia." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenia." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/slovenia
"Slovenian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/slovenian
"Slovenian." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/slovenian
"Slovenia." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/slovenia
"Slovenia." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved February 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/slovenia