Slovenia. According to
Countryaah.com, Slovenia, the most prosperous of the former
Yugoslav republics, stood last summer in the long queue of
countries wanting to join the EU. Prime Minister Janez
Drnovšek filed the application on June 10 while signing a
new cooperation agreement with the EU's foreign ministers.
Slovenia is the tenth eastern state to have a so-called
Europe agreement with the EU. In addition to a gradual
reduction in tariffs and promises of aid, there is also a
promise of future membership. Gross domestic product has
increased by almost 4% per year over the past three years,
and Slovenia expects that the average income for citizens
will soon be greater than in Greece, Portugal and Ireland.
Slovenia's cooperation agreement with the EU was delayed
by more than a year due to the conflict with Italy over the
right to property owned by Italians who left the country in
the context of the Second World War. However, the issue was
resolved when the Slovenian government promised to change
the legislation within four years to enable foreigners to
own property in the country.
A further approach to the EU's regulatory system took
place when Slovenia introduced visa waivers for Bosnian and
Herzegovina citizens in June. It angered the Sarajevo
government, which introduced the corresponding rule the
month after. Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratović
threatened to find suppliers other than the Slovenes, who
sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods to the
internationally financed reconstruction of the war-torn
The November 10 parliamentary elections resulted in Prime
Minister Janez Drnovšek's Liberal Democrats, Liberalna
Demokracija Slovenije (LDS), gaining 25 of Parliament's 90
seats. The Conservative Slovenian People's Party (Slovenska
Ljudska Stranka, SDS), led by Marjan Podobnik, increased its
mandate share from 12 to 19. The newly formed pensioner
party, the Democratic Party Stranka Upokojencev Slovenije
(Desus), received five seats. The turnout was 74% against
85% in 1992. Just before the turn of the year, President
Milan Kučan commissioned Drnovšek to form a government.
At the December 8 referendum on a new electoral law, only
35% of voters went to the polls. The issue therefore
returned to Parliament.