Slovenia. According to COUNTRYAAH, Slovenia has a population of 2.081 million (2019). The bourgeois opposition considered that an agreement with Croatia to resolve a border dispute through international mediation constituted “capitulation” and called for a binding referendum on the issue. Although Prime Minister Borut Pahor signed an agreement on mediation with his Croatian colleague, and Parliament approved the agreement, the government agreed in March. The outcome was uncertain to the last before the referendum held in June. But a close majority of voters, just over 51 percent, approved the deal. Thus a sigh of relief was drawn in Croatia; the conflict over the border crossing into the sea was an obstacle to the country’s entry into the EU. Slovenia, which became an EU member in 2004, had long blocked the membership negotiations.
In 1993, Slovenia defined itself as a European country, not belonging to the Balkans. Trade relations with the EU and the openness of the Slovenian authorities opened up the possibilities for accession to the EU. The increase in tourism and the dollar exchange rate stabilization led to an increase in exports and in GDP.
Italy opposed Slovenia’s accession to the EU. The Italian authorities demanded compensation for the expropriation of 150,000 Italians’ property during the period 1945-1972. The Catholic Church also demanded the restoration of the possessions that had been nationalized under the former communist rule.
In May 1995, the European Commission welcomed the application of the Slovenes, but the Italians maintained their demands. During the year, Croatia and Slovenia continued the discussion on the conclusion of an agreement on the Piran coast and on the Croatian deposits in Ljubljanska Banka, the country’s largest bank since the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia.
In June 1996, Slovenia signed an Association Agreement with the EU, as a first step towards its inclusion as a regular member, to take place in 2001. One of the EU’s requirements – perhaps especially the Italians – to achieve this agreement was an addition to the Constitution, whereby foreigners should be able to acquire property in Slovenia. Economic policy took into account the new requirements of the EU, especially as regards finance law.
In the November general election, the center-party, the Liberal Democratic Party, led by Drnovsek, succeeded in conquering a modest majority – 25 of the parliament’s 90 seats. After lengthy negotiations, the Conservative People’s Party, which had gained 19 seats, agreed to join a new government, led by the outgoing prime minister.