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Slovenia and NATO

Slovenia and NATO
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Public Opinion


Annual National Programme of the Republic of Slovenia for the Implementation of the Membership Action Plan 2002 - 2003 (Executive Summary)

Membership in NATO is strategic foreign policy priority of Slovenia, deriving from its strategic interests and common values that we share with NATO member countries. On this premise, and on the basis of the NATO Progress Report on Participation of Slovenia in the MAP and the recommendations of the NATO member countries, the fourth ANP/MAP sets out preparations of Slovenia both until and after the summit in Prague.

1. Political Economic Issues

National Security Policy

Slovenia is implementing an active security policy, which goes beyond the exclusive protection of its own territorial integrity. As a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, as an associate member of the EU and a member of a number of other international organisations and with its engagement in EAPC and PfP, Slovenia actively participates in the endeavours of the international community to ensure peace, security and stability in Europe and world-wide.

Fight Against Terrorism

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, Slovenia immediately joined the international anti-terrorist coalition, in which it is actively participating. Slovenia is taking its share of responsibility in the fight against international terrorism according to its own abilities. It is implementing a range of practical measures in compliance with the obligations deriving from the international treaties and on the basis of its own legislation and decisions.

The International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings are expected to be ratified by the end of 2002.

Political Framework of Preparations for NATO Membership

The Government is continuing its intensive activities aimed at fulfilling the foreign policy priorities of Slovenia - membership in NATO and the EU. Slovenia is committed to be a reliable and strong ally in the defence of common democratic values. The majority of the parliamentary parties as well as the President of the Republic support membership in NATO.

Public Support for NATO Membership

Due to enhanced interest in preparations of Slovenia for membership in NATO, the Government intensified and extended its activities of informing both domestic and foreign public during the last twelve months. The aim of these activities is to provide the public with a comprehensive and up-to-date information about NATO and to gain majority public support for membership in NATO.

The results of the public opinion polls conducted in the recent months have showed that the Government has been successful in allaying the doubts on membership of Slovenia in NATO and that the public support has increased. The Government will intensively continue the public information programme concerning integration of Slovenia into NATO and plans a wide range of activities, from media programmes and direct communication with citizens to publication of information materials.

Public Opinion Polls

Public opinion is regularly polled through annual field surveys and monthly telephone polls. The latest opinion polls - the field survey "Slovenians' standpoint regarding membership in NATO and EU" carried out in May and June 2002 and the July "Politbarometer" telephone poll show that 42.4% and 39% respectively would vote favourably at a potential referendum on membership of Slovenia in NATO and that 31.5% and 36% respectively would vote against. About 25% of respondents remain undecided.

If only those respondents were taken into account who replied that they would attend the referendum and had taken their stand on this issue, then respectively 57% and 56% of respondents would be in favour of joining NATO and 43% and 44% respectively would vote against it.

Human Rights and Ethnic Communities Protection

Slovenia is a party to all the important international instruments on human rights protection. It guarantees the protection of human rights to all persons on its territory in accordance with the Constitution and the assumed international obligations. It guarantees the rights of members of national, ethnic and other communities by provisions concerning the protection of individual rights of persons, members of national, ethnic and other communities, and the guaranteeing of special rights to national (Italian and Hungarian) communities. Both types of protection complement each other and they comply with international law obligations assumed by Slovenia.

Internal Political Reforms

Slovenia has adopted measures to continue and conclude its public administration reform in order to upgrade the existing system into a more professional, politically neutral, transparent, effective and public-service-user friendly system. The public administration reform proceeds in compliance with the EU standards.

In accordance to the amendments to the Court Procedure Code adopted at the end of 2000 judicial backlogs are systematically registered. An analysis of reasons for the accumulation of backlogs was drawn up in 2002, on the basis of which measures were adopted for their reduction.

66% of nationalised property in the total value of USD 1.43 billion was restituted by the end of May 2002. The value of the claimed property increased by 1.9 % in 2002 due to 82 newly recorded claims. Decisions on 1,520 claims were adopted in the first five months of 2002, which shows 6.4% relative progress. The claims concluded or resolved to date (25,222) account for 70% relative share of the structure of the filed denationalisation claims.

International Relations, Relations with Neighbours and Regional Cooperation

Slovenia continues to implement its set foreign policy priorities: integration into NATO and the EU and the development of good-neighbourly relations. An important element of foreign policy of Slovenia is constituted by the activities in the humanitarian field and in the protection of human rights, particularly the rights of the child. Slovenia is active in the UN, Council of Europe, Human Security Network and numerous other international organisations and initiatives.

Integration into the European Union

Slovenia has provisionally closed 28 out of the total of 31 chapters in negotiations for membership in the EU and intends to complete negotiations and close the remaining chapters by the end of this year. The accession treaty is expected to be signed in the first half of 2003.

Slovenia follows the development of European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). It welcomed the Laeken Declaration of December 2001. Slovenia believes that ESDP can become an efficient security structure only through close Trans-Atlantic cooperation. A stronger ESDP must not have a negative impact on NATO's cohesion and ability to perform its tasks.

Slovenia will participate in the future operations of the European police forces and in the EUPM operation, when the EU will take over from the UN the police operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 1 January 2003.

Good Neighbourly Relations

Slovenia has developed a high level of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with its neighbours. The national and other ethnic communities and their status constitute an important link in cooperation between Slovenia and its neighbours.

Slovenia is actively cooperating within various regional initiatives; the Central European Initiative, the Danube Cooperation Process, the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, the "Regional Partnership, the Alpe-Adria Working Community and the Quadrilaterale.

Cooperation with South-East Europe

Slovenia is taking an active part in the stabilisation of the situation in South-Eastern Europe and in the international peace forces there. The significance of the countries of South-East Europe as trade partners of Slovenia is growing. Slovenia is one of the major investors in the area.

Stability Pact for South-East Europe

Slovenia is carrying out 14 permanent projects within Working Table I - Democratisation and Human Rights. It is continuing to chair the international Human Rights and National Minorities Task Force.

Within the Working Table II - Economic Reconstruction, Development and Cooperation Slovenia will intensify its contribution to sharing its expertise in the area of social cohesion in the second half of 2002 and the first half of 2003.

Within the Working Table III - Security Issues Slovenia is carrying out the Project of Disaster Management Training in South-East Europe within the framework of the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Initiative. Regarding the fight against human trafficking the Ministry of Justice is providing practical training for judges from courts and public prosecutors' offices from the countries of South-East Europe.

Activities of Slovenia within the NATO's Southeast Europe Initiative

Slovenia has taken an active part in NATO's South-East Europe Initiative from the very beginning, and has thus been engaged in the strengthening of regional security with a programme of bilateral and multilateral regional cooperation, which is also linked to the Partnership for Peace working programme.


The International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF) was founded by the Government in March 1998. It originally operated in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has later developed a regional dimension and extended its activities to Croatia, Albania, the FRY (to Kosovo at first) and to Macedonia. With its efficient and transparent work the ITF has achieved extraordinary results and is now a major demining partner in the region.

ITF offered to extend its activities to other regions, particularly in the Caucasus. It also offered to provide equipment and training for demining in Afghanistan.

The "TOGETHER" Regional Centre

The Government of Slovenia, the NGO "Slovenian Philanthropy" and the City of Ljubljana founded the "Together" Regional Centre for Psychosocial Well-being of Children in February 2002. With it Slovenia wishes to contribute its share to psychosocial well being and improvement of mental health of children affected by armed confrontations in South-East Europe. The "Together" Centre will continue its projects in the South-Eastern European region in accordance with the most urgent requirements for rehabilitation of victims of war.

Economic Issues

The main economic indicators show that Slovenia is drawing ever closer to and attaining the level of development similar to the EU Member States. It has a stable economic growth, balanced public finances, a market economy, successful monetary policy, decreasing unemployment and, above all, every possibility to further accelerate its development.

The objectives of economic development strategy of Slovenia are to reduce Slovenia's economic lagging behind the EU average and development disparities among Slovenian regions by accelerating economic growth, increasing the productivity and international competitiveness of the economy while at the same time maintaining the level of social cohesion. The estimated economic growth for 2002 is 3.3%, in 2003 and 2004 GDP growth is expected again to reach cca. 4.4%.


The process of restructuring the corporate and banking sector has reached its final stage, which includes the introduction of new programmes, investments, and employment.

Intensive activities were pursued in 2001 with regard to the privatisation of the two state-owned banks, i.e. Nova Ljubljanska banka and Nova kreditna banka Maribor. The National Assembly adopted the Insurance Companies Ownership Transformation Act on 7 May 2002.

2. Defence and Military Affairs

Policy and Planning

Significant changes have occurred since last year's ANP in that the Slovenian government has decided to end conscription in 2004 and man the army only with professional soldiers. Eligibility for service in the reserve forces will continue until 2010, while a volunteer reserve is created. These changes are supported by substantial increases in the planned Defence Budget, which should reach 2.0% of GDP by 2008. Key defence priority of Slovenia is to effect the reforms necessary for integration into NATO. To ensure that the professionalisation process is properly managed and supported by appropriate resources, the Minister of Defence has instructed that a Strategic Defence Review should be undertaken which will address every major area of defence. The initial report on the findings and recommendations of the defence review is expected by January 2003.

The government and parliament have now adopted all the necessary legal documents to enable Slovenia to participate in all NATO activities. In particular, the amended Defence Act allows Slovenia to give assistance in defence to its allies and for foreign troops to be stationed on Slovenian soil.

The MoD has made some progress in the development of the defence planning system and a 6 year resource plan will be produced in 2002. The long-term plan will be revised once the outcome of the Strategic Defence Review is known. A pilot business plan is also being prepared, with the aim of introducing a full business planning process in 2003. This will improve the overall management of the defence organisation.

The Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF)

The SAF continues to increase the number of professional soldiers in line with previous plans. This has enabled improved manning of the reaction force, the core of which are the 10th and 17th Battalions. The 10th Battalion is expected to reach full strength by the end of 2002. The reaction force is at 30 days notice to deploy.

As of 1 August 2002, the regular strength of the SAF was approaching 4,600 military personnel. Following the decision to abolish conscription, the government has approved increased recruitment targets, doubling the 2002 target to 600 additional soldiers. Despite this decision being taken half way through the year, the number of soldiers recruited by the end of July already exceeded 300 and, therefore, the SAF is optimistic it will get close to achieving this year's target.

While increasing the professional strength of the SAF, the plans for the reduction of the wartime strength continue to be implemented. A single Force Command will be created in 2003, which will assume the operational responsibilities of the General Staff. The organisation of the reduced General Staff will be reviewed in conjunction with that of the MoD.

Human Resources

A professionalisation project group has been formed to oversee the process and to develop appropriate policies for a fully professional army. This will include the establishment of clear career paths and an effective personnel management system.

The process of professionalisation of the SAF will be completed in 2010, when the maximum authorised mobilisable strength will not exceed 18,000 military personnel. The regular component will be at full strength by 2008 but it is expected that it will take two more years to complete the volunteer reserve structure. At the same time there will be a rebalancing of the structure which will improve the officer: NCO: soldier ratio. The number of civilians employed in both the SAF and the MoD is expected to be reduced but the final number will not be established until the Strategic Defence Review is complete.

The education and training system is being developed to take account of the move to professionalisation. Conscript training will continue until June 2004. Newly recruited professional soldiers who have not completed normal military service will receive additional training. Reserve training will continue on the current 5-year cycle while liability for reserve service remains.

Equipment and Modernisation Plans

Funding for major procurement projects is secured through the Basic Development Law, which has been extended until 2007. A working group has been established to review the procurement decision making process. Major procurement plans for 2002 and 2003 include logistic support vehicles, utility helicopters, light armoured vehicles, and communication equipment.

Improvements in air defence will occur through the introduction into operational use in 2003 of the ASOC system and the ROLAND battery. 20 additional light armoured reconnaissance vehicles will be introduce into operational service in 2003.

Longer-term procurement plans will focus on ensuring that the three reaction force motorised battalions are fully equipped, and on improving communications and logistic capabilities.

Partnership Goals

Slovenia continues to concentrate on achieving all the Partnership Goals agreed with NATO. Twelve (12) PGs from the 2000 package have been completed and the remainder included into the 2002 package. Most goals should be completed by 2004, with the remainder completed by 2007.

NATO and International Activities

Slovenia continues to contribute forces to SFOR and KFOR and will make a significant increase in its SFOR contribution later in the year. Slovenia also participates in a range of activities concerned with regional cooperation, including CENCOOP and SEDM. Bilateral cooperation with NATO and PfP member states is wide ranging, including training courses and joint exercises, both in Slovenia and abroad.

3. Financial Issues

As already noted, the Slovenian government has approved significant increases in the Defence Budget. This decision was taken despite a requirement in 2002 to reduce overall government spending. The budget will continue to be a two-year rolling budget, which should ensure a degree of stability for defence planning. In 2003 the defence budget should reach 1.61% of GDP, increasing gradually to 2.0% by 2008.

4. Security Issues

Slovenia has achieved significant progress in the area of security issues, since the Classified Information Act was adopted in November 2001. Two executive regulations have already been adopted and another two are under preparation. Their adoption will facilitate the alignment with the requirements of NATO security policy, establishment of a National Security Authority in NATO context and ensure consistency with NATO standards in the field of personnel security, security of information, Infosec and physical security.

Following the adoption of the Classified Information Act, the Office for the Protection of Classified Information was established by the Government decision in January 2002. The Office also acts as a National Security Authority in NATO context.

5. Legal Issues

Slovenia considers that it has now met the Partnership Goal on "legal arrangements for participation in collective defence" (PG G0050) and no further changes to legislation are required for the specific purpose of NATO membership.

The last ANP stated that all the required amendments to national legislation for NATO membership would be adopted in the first half of 2002. This was achieved, with the following legislation being passed by the National Assembly: The Classified Information Act, Amendment to the Criminal Procedure Act, Amendment to the Maritime Code and Amendment to the Defence Act.

The amended Defence Act allows for the deployment of professional military personnel and voluntary reservists abroad in peacetime. It also provides for the possibility of the use of national airspace by allied countries and it allows for the transit or stationing of foreign armed forces on the territory of Slovenia. The Act facilitates decision making by the government, without the need to seek parliamentary approval in every instance.

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