Annual Review of Slovenian Foreign Affairs

Ljubljana, 5 December - Slovenia is looking ahead to the completion of two multi-year projects in 2004. On 1 May 2004 it will join the European Union, with NATO membership scheduled for less than two months later. Preparations for these events, such as the 16 April signing of the EU Accession Treaty, kept Slovenian foreign policy makers busy in the past year. Meanwhile, relations with neighbouring Croatia remained in the spotlight. Following another summer of squabbling over the border, Croatia went ahead and declared unilaterally an ecological and fisheries zone in the Adriatic. With tensions running high and chances for a quick bilateral solution slim, the possibility that the two countries will opt for international arbitration to resolve their border dispute has surfaced again. Discussions on open issues with Croatia are expected to resume after a new government is formed in Zagreb following general elections. Relations with Hungary remained traditionally cordial, while little change was noted in relations with the other two neighbouring countries, Austria and Italy. The talks on succession to the former Yugoslavia took a major step forward as the clearing debt of the former Soviet Union was agreed on. However, no progress was made in deciding who should guarantee outstanding foreign currency deposits dating back to the former Yugoslavia. In a step that confirmed the legality of an international agreement that is several years in the making, the Constitutional Court said the accord on legal matters between Slovenia and the Holy See does not violate the Constitution.

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