Slovenia country profile


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 swiftly won with relatively few deaths. 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. This prompted mass protests at corruption and economic mismanagement by successive governments.


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), 84 years (women)

  • Currency euro

Getty Images


President: Borut Pahor

Image source, Getty Images

Prime minister of a centre-left government between 2008-12, Borut Pahor was was first elected president in December 2012.

He narrowly won re-election in November 2017, beating Marjan Sarec of the new LMS party.

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

Prime minister: Janez Jansa

Image source, JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty Images

Elections in June 2018 saw major gains for the SDS anti-immigration party of veteran former prime minister Janez Jansa, but he was blocked from returning to office by a minority centre-left coalition.

This fell apart in February 2020, when Prime Minister Marjan Sarec resigned in a failed bid to call early elections, allowing Mr Jansa to form a centre-right coalition that following month - in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He has pledged to build border fences to keep out migrants and boost benefits for families with children, in common with his populist neighbour Viktor Orban in Hungary.

Janez Jansa has moved from the centre to the right in a long political career that was nearly derailed by a two-year jail sentence for corruption in 2013, before the Constitutional Court dismissed his conviction on appeal.


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.


Some key dates in Slovenia's history:

Image source, 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 communist Yugoslavia.

1991 - Slovenia, along with Croatia, declares its independence. The Yugoslav army intervenes and about dozens of people are killed before the European Union brokers a ceasefire. The Yugoslav army withdraws.

2004 - Slovenia joins the European Union.

2011-13 - Mass protests at corruption and financial mismanagement during the European sovereign debt crisis.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Slovenia became part of the trail taken by migrants heading to northern Europe in 2015-16

Related Topics

Around the BBC

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.