Slovenia - Foreign policy

Slovenia has been successful in achieving its foreign policy goals. It obtained international recognition in 1992 and immediately began seeking membership in the EU and NATO. Slovenia was formally invited to become a member of NATO in November 2002.

The goal of EU membership was at the top of Slovenia's foreign policy agenda. Almost seventy percent of Slovenia's exports go to the EU, and Slovenia was seeking membership in the organization even before the breakup of Yugoslavia. Slovenia signed an association agreement with the EU and in July 1997 (along with four other central European countries) was invited to talks on EU membership. Given the economic successes of the country and the efforts of former president Kucan and Drnovšek (when he was prime minister), it was likely that Slovenia would be included in a new expansion. The invitation to Slovenia to become a member of the EU took place in December 2002. On 23 March 2003, Slovenians approved both NATO and EU membership in referendums. The vote in favor of the EU was over 89%, and that for NATO was 66%. Voter turnout was estimated at 60%.

Relations with Croatia have been strained in recent years. The failure of Croatia to come to the aid of Slovenia during the 1991 invasion by the Yugoslav army had caused considerable strain between the two countries. Other unresolved issues include the fate of the jointly owned Krsko nuclear power plant, the fate of Croatian hard currency deposits in Slovene banks, and a dispute over Slovenia's access to the Adriatic Sea, although progress on this issue has been made recently. Despite these differences, the two countries were able to sign a free trade agreement in October 1997 and trade relations have indeed improved. Slovenia has also been working to normalize its relations with the Serbia and Montenegro, significantly increasing trade.

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