last updated 30 July 2010
Accession to the European Union
The Republic of Slovenia became an independent state after the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991. On 23 December 1991, following the results of a plebiscite on the sovereignty and independence of Slovenia, the present Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia was adopted. The European Community officially recognized Slovenia as an independent nation on 15 January 1992. Integration with the European Union was a focus of the Slovenian government as early as February of 1992, when Slovenia sought a Europe Agreement. From: European Commission, Relations with Slovenia, 1 May 2004 and Republic of Slovenia, Official gateway to the information on Slovenia, accessed 22 July 2010.
Slovenia signed the Europe Agreement and requested membership to the European Union on 10 June 1996. The Europe Agreement served as the legal basis for relations between Slovenia and the European Union and set out the framework through which Slovenia would be gradually integrated into the Union. A document outlining the accession strategy of Slovenia was released in May of 1997 and reconfirmed its devotion to becoming a member state. From: European Commission, Opinion on Slovenia’s Application for Membership of the European Union, 15 July 1997.
The Commission Opinion on Slovenia’s Application for Membership of the European Union, released in July 1997, recommended that negotiations with Slovenia for accession be opened. Negotiations for membership were started in March of 1998. From: European Commission, Opinion on Slovenia’s Application for Membership of the European Union, 15 July 1997.
Slovenia released the first National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis in May 1999. Subsequent programs for adoption were released in 2000, 2001, and 2002. From: Government Office for the Development and European Affairs, Republic of Slovenia's National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis, accessed 16 July 2010.
The Accession Partnership, written October 13, 1999, outlines priority areas for Slovenia to focus on before accession to the European Union. The priority areas were re-evaluated in November of 2001, and a new Accession Partnership report was released. From: European Commission, Relations with Slovenia, 1 May 2004.
A follow up progress report was first released in November of 1998, and consequent reports detailing Slovenia’s preparations for membership in the EU were written in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. From: European Commission, Relations with Slovenia, 1 May 2004. According to the 2003 Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Slovenia's Preparations for Membership, Slovenia had transposed all of the EU legislation on equal treatment for women and men and was in accordance with the acquis communautaire. The report also notes that a mechanism for hearing and issuing opinions on cases of unequal treatment was created at the Office for Equal Opportunities. From, European Commission, 2003 Comprehensive Monitoring Report on Slovenia’s Preparations for Membership, 5 November 2003.
Negotiations between Slovenia and the European Union were concluded in December 2002 in the Copenhagen Summit. On March 23, 2003 a referendum on EU accession was held and 90% voted in favor of accession to the EU. Slovenia joined the EU on 1 May 2004. From: European Commission, Relations with Slovenia, 1 May 2004.
Slovenia received substantial financial assistance as it prepared for accession to the EU. The European Community gave € 65 million to Slovenia for pre-accession assistance from 2000 to 2004. From 1992 to 2004, the PHARE Programme awarded a total of €336.6 million to Slovenia. Slovenia also received €19.6 million from ISPA (Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession) in 2000, €16 million in 2001, and €17 million in 2002. Sixty percent of these funds went to environmental projects while the other forty percent were devoted to transport projects. Italy and Austria also provided Slovenia with financial aid. These cross-border efforts focused on economic, infrastructure, and environment cooperation. From: European Commission, Relations with Slovenia, 1 May 2004.
The Slovenian Constitution, Employment Relationships Act, Parental Care and Family Benefits Act, and the Act on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men constitute the legal framework relevant to the EU equality standards. Article 14 of the Slovenian Constitution provides for equal rights and freedoms, as well as equality before the law. The Employment Relationships Act provides for equal pay for equal work, guarantees equal treatment in work conditions, trainings, promotions and hours, and prohibits direct and indirect discrimination. Furthermore, the Act addresses sexual harassment and requires employers to ensure a workplace that is free of undesired physical, verbal or non-verbal treatment of a sexual nature, which would lead to intimidating, hostile or humiliating working conditions. The Parental Care and Family Benefits Act, which entered into force on 1 January 2002, addresses family benefits and insurance for parental care. The Act on Equal Opportunities of Women and Men was adopted in June 2002 and provides for gender equality in all public spheres of life. From: Network of East-West Women.
Membership in the European Union
Slovenia is currently represented and involved in the decision making processes of all EU institutions. Membership in the European Union has benefited Slovenian citizens as they may now travel throughout Europe without borders, use a common currency, and work in another EU member state. Slovenia established a government coordination system to assure a strong Slovenian voice in decision making of the European Union. From: Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office, Presidency to the EU Council, accessed 16 July 2010.
On 1 January 2008, Slovenia began the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The presidency was concluded on 30 June 2008. Five priority areas defined by Slovenia for its time in presidency included: “the future of the Union and timely entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty; successful launching of the new Lisbon Strategy cycle; a step forward in addressing climate-energy issues; strengthening of the European perspective of the Western Balkans; promoting the dialogue between cultures, beliefs and traditions in the context of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.” From: Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office, Member of the EU, accessed 16 July 2010.
Slovenia received four second-warnings from the European Commission on 24 June 2010 for “failing to comply with EU legislation in the fields of public tenders, audio and visual services, and the gas and electricity market and for failing to inform the Commission about transposing the EU services directive into its national legislation.” If these warnings are not satisfied within two months, the matter may be referred to the Court of Justice by the Commission. From: Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office, EU Commission Issues Four Second Warnings to Slovenia, 26 June 2010.
European Commission, Opinion on Slovenia’s Application for Membership of the European Union, 15 July 1997. (PDF, 132 pages).
European Commission, Relations with Slovenia, 1 May 2004.
European Union, 27 Member Countries of the European Union, accessed 16 July 2010
Government Office for the Development and European Affairs, Republic of Slovenia's National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis, accessed 16 July 2010.
Network of East-West Women
Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office, EU Commission Issues Four Second Warnings to Slovenia, 26 June 2010.
Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office, Member of the EU, accessed 16 July 2010.
Republic of Slovenia Government Communication Office, Presidency to the EU Council, accessed 16 July 2010.
Republic of Slovenia, Official gateway to the information on Slovenia, accessed 22 July 2010.
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