Europe

Slovenia country profile

  • 14 March 2016
  • From the section Europe
Map of Slovenia

Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe, but contains within its borders Alpine mountains, thick forests, historic cities and a short Adriatic coastline.

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

Unlike Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia's independence from Yugoslavia was almost bloodless. The country also found the transition from a state economy to the free market easier than most.

Long regarded as one of the best-performing new EU members, Slovenia was dragged into a deep recession by the European financial crisis in 2012.

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

FACTS

Republic of Slovenia

Capital: Ljubljana

  • Population 2 million

  • Area 20,273 sq km (7,827 sq miles)

  • Major language Slovene

  • Major religion Christianity

  • Life expectancy 76 years (men), 83 years (women)

  • Currency euro

Getty Images

LEADERS

President: Borut Pahor

Image copyright Getty Images

The prime minister of a centre-left government between 2008-12, Borut Pahor was elected president in December 2012, beating incumbent Danilo Turk by a thumping margin of 34% of the vote.

However, the low turnout - only one in three eligible voters made it to the polls - was seen as a sign of widespread disenchantment with Slovenia's political class.

The election took place against a background of popular discontent at the centre-right government's austerity measures, with many Slovenes taking to the streets to call for the resignation of the political elite.

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

Prime minister: Miro Cerar

Image copyright Getty Images

Miro Cerar was appointed prime minister in August 2014, after month-long coalition negotiations in the aftermath of parliamentary elections.

Originally a lawyer and an academic, he acted as a legal advisor to parliament and expressed opinions on various constitutional matters for years.

His SMC party won 34.5% of the vote and secured 36 seats in parliament as the leading faction even though it was established only a month before the elections.

Mr Cerar faced the tough task of putting the eurozone country's finances back in order after the past two governments fell after little more than a year after being hit by corruption trials and political infighting.

MEDIA

Slovenia's media scene is diverse and free.

The main papers are privately-owned.

The broadcasting sector is a mix of public and private ownership. Many households are connected to cable, satellite, or internet protocol TV (IPTV). There is an advanced digital terrestrial TV (DTT) network.

By the end of 2015 almost 73% of the population was online.

TIMELINE

Some key dates in Slovenia's history:

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia and broke away with relatively little conflict

1918 - After the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Slovenia joins the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The kingdom later becomes known as Yugoslavia.

1941 - Slovenia is occupied by Nazi Germany and Italy during the Second World War.

1945 - At the end of the war, Slovenia becomes a constituent republic of socialist Yugoslavia.

1991 - Slovenia, along with Croatia, declares its independence. The Yugoslav federal army intervenes. Slovene forces defend the country. About 100 people killed. The EU brokers a ceasefire. The Yugoslav army withdraws.

2004 - Slovenia joins the EU.

2013 - Ratings agency Moody's cuts Slovenia's credit rating to junk status. Economy recovers over subsequent years.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Slovenia became part of the trail taken by migrants heading to northern Europe

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