Slovenia Essay

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Although one of the youngest nations in the world, Slovenia has quickly established itself as an equal partner and example to other nations. Today, Slovenia is an example of economic success and a guarantee to the stability in a traditionally volatile Balkan region. Several driving factors contributed to Slovenia’s economic growth in recent years. First, it has an exceptional infrastructure. Second, it is situated in a strategically important area between western and eastern Europe. Finally, Slovenia is home to a well-educated workforce. These factors allowed Slovenia to be the first 2004 European Union (EU) entrant to adopt the euro as its currency and to be the first transition country to advance from borrower to donor as a World Bank member.

Slovenia (Republika Slovenija) is situated in central Europe. It lies northeast of the Adriatic Sea and shares borders with Croatia to the south, Italy to the west, Austria to the north, and Hungary to the east. The centrally located capital city of Slovenia is Ljubljana. Other major cities are Koper, Kranj, and Maribor.

Slovenia is one of the smallest European countries (20,273 sq. km) with a very diverse landscape. It has a short coastline (46 km) alongside the Adriatic Sea, a mountainous range (Alps) it shares with Italy and Austria, and fertile farmlands in the eastern part of the country. Such diverse landscape is directly related to various climates ranging from Mediterranean on the coast to continental in the eastern and alpine regions of Slovenia.

Approximately 2 million people live in Slovenia and their nationality is predominantly Slovenian (83 percent). Primary minority groups in Slovenia include Serbs, Croats, and Bosnians. Slovenian is the official language; however, a large portion of the population (6 percent) speaks Serbian, Croatian, or Bosnian (formerly Serbo-Croatian). The population in Slovenia is aging with a median age of 41 years and only 13 percent of the population younger than 15. As in the majority of other western European countries, the population growth has been in a slight decline (minus.08 percent).

Until recently, the people of Slovenia have been subjected to the control of foreign powers. Slovenia as we know it today was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of World War I. After World War I, Slovenia joined its fellow Slavic states, Serbia and Croatia, in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians. In 1929, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenians changed its name to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia = land of south Slavs). After World War II, Slovenia became one of the constitutive republics in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRJ). Such constitutional status allowed Slovenia to exercise its powers and declare independence from SFRJ on June 25, 1991.

While part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was its most thriving region. It was the center for research and development and home to many successful firms. Once on its own, Slovenia continued to thrive. It became a member of the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004, and today it has the highest per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in central Europe. A strong economy and a stable democratic political system have assisted in Slovenia’s transformation to a modern state. As such, Slovenia is a benchmark for other countries in transition.

While many positive outcomes symbolize Slovenia today, the transition process has not been without obstacles. Although reforms to provide incentives for foreign direct investment (FDI) are taking place, FDI in Slovenia has lagged behind regional averages. At the same time that taxes remain relatively high, the level of state control of the economy is one of the highest in the EU, and the labor market is somewhat inflexible. In addition, established Slovenian industries have been experiencing increased competition from firms originating in other transitional economies. Despite some of these setbacks, Slovenia’s potential is great. It is home to a well-educated population, diverse industrial environment (top three Slovenian multinationals in 2007 were Mercator [retail], Gorenje [home appliance manufacturing], and Krka [pharmaceutical manufacturing]), and natural resources that could assure growth in years to come.


  1. CIA, “Slovenia,” World Factbook, (cited March 2009);
  2. James Gow and Cathie Carmichael, Slovenia and the Slovenes: A Small State and the New Europe (C. Hurst, 2008);
  3. Anita Tuladhar, Rudolfs Bems, and Jochen R. Andritzky, Republic of Slovenia: Selected Issues (International Monetary Fund, 2007);
  4. S. Department of State, “Background Note: Slovenia,” (cited March 2009);
  5. Ana Zaljetelj, ABC of International Business Operations in Slovenia (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, 2003).

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