Annual Review of Slovenian Foreign and EU Affairs

Ljubljana, 11 December - Slovenia's foreign policy was increasingly marked in 2006 by preparations for the presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2008. Top-level visits were becoming more frequent, Slovenia organised a high-profile conference on the future of the Caspian region and the Centre for European Perspective was launched in a bid to boost assistance to aspiring EU members. In NATO the army beefed up its activities in peace keeping missions, in which there are already 355 soldiers, and Slovenia hosted a meeting of NATO defence ministers for the first time. Perhaps the busiest foreign policy player was President Janez Drnovsek. His initiatives followed in rapid succession, so much so that he was criticised of spreading his attention too thin over too broad an area. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jane Jansa paid high-profile visits to the United States, Russia and the Persian Gulf. The dispute over the border with Croatia continued to plague bilateral relations. It culminated with the incident at Hotiza in September, which saw the deployment of Slovenian special forces near the border for a brief period. Whereas there was no end in sight to the border dispute, there was some reprieve when the European Court of Human rights threw out a lawsuit brought by three Croatian clients of the defunct Slovenian bank LB, strengthening Slovenia's hand in the disputed issue. Relations with Austria were in the shadow of the ongoing disagreements over Slovenian-German city limit signs in Carinthia, while the arrival of Romano Prodi's centre-left government in Italy raised the minority's hopes that things will change for the better after years of deadlock.

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© STA, 2006