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Political relations

The Republic of Austria recognised Slovenia as an independent state on 15 January 1992. On the same day, the two countries established diplomatic relations. In 1992, Slovenia established the Embassy in Vienna and the Consulate General in Celovec/Klagenfurt.

Bilateral relations are marked by an intensive, friendly and expanded neighbourly partnership in many fields (internal affairs and police co-operation, consular affairs, regional initiatives, economic and military co-operation, development and humanitarian projects, multilateral forums), in which the two countries pursue external political objectives of common interest. Numerous and regular visits, also on the highest political level, bear witness to the positive relations between the two countries.

The Slovenian national community in Austria is an important element of bilateral co-operation. Open minority issues are addressed regularly by the two countries.

Regional and cross-border cooperation

Slovenia and Austria successfully cooperate within varoius regional fora: Quadrilaterale, Central European Initiative, and the EU macroregional strategies for Danube and Alps area.

Slovenia as a whole cooperates with the Austrian provinces of Carinthia, Burgenland, Styria and Upper Austria within the Alps-Adriatic Alliance (its permanent secretariat is located in Klagenfurt) where it is represented by the Community of Slovenian Municipalities.

Slovenia and Austria cooperate within the Operational Programme Slovenia-Austria 2014-2020, which is particularly aimed at cross-border cooperation between the neighbouring countries. The European Regional Development Fund, together with national public resources, allocated EUR 47 million to co-finance cross-border projects in this programme period. Priorities include (1) competitiveness, knowledge and economic cooperation; (2) sustainable and balanced development; and (3) technical assistance.

There is also good cross-border cooperation at municipal level. In this context, the most known is the Geopark Karavanke (Geopark Karawanken) with 14 municipalities taking part, five on the Slovenian and nine on the Austrian side. Its objectives are ambitious and include different areas (economy, tourism, culture, education, transport and others).

Slovenian national minority in Austria

Austrian State Treaty from 1955 obligates Austria to protect the rights of the Slovene minority in Austria, as well as the rights of the Croat minority in Burgenland.

Article 7 of the of the Austrian State Treaty determines that Austrian nationals of the Slovene and Croat minorities in Carinthia, Burgenland and Styria shall enjoy the same rights on equal terms as all other Austrian nationals, including the right to their own organizations, meetings and press in their own language. They are entitled to elementary education in the Slovene or Croat language and to a proportional number of their own secondary schools; in this connection school curricula shall be reviewed and a section of the Inspectorate of Education shall be established for Slovene and Croat schools. In the administrative and judicial districts of Carinthia, Burgenland and Styria, where there are Slovene, Croat or mixed population, the Slovene or Croat language shall be accepted as an official language in addition to German. In such districts topographical terminology and inscriptions shall be in the Slovene or Croat language as well as in German. Austrian nationals of the Slovene and Croat minorities in Carinthia, Burgenland and Styria shall participate in the cultural, administrative and judicial systems in these territories on equal terms with other Austrian nationals. The activity of organizations whose aim is to deprive the Croat or Slovene population of their minority character or rights shall be prohibited.

The Slovenian national community in Austrian Carinthia is organised within the following organisations: National Council of Slovenians in Carinthia, the Union of Slovenian Organisations in Carinthia and the Association of Carinthian Slovenians. A large number of Slovenian societies and institutions are united in the two main cultural organisations Christian Cultural Union and Slovenian Educational Union. The Unity List is an independent political party for Carinthian Slovenians, which is also open to the members of the majority nation supporting its programme. The national community in Austrian Styria is organised within the Article 7 Cultural Association for Austrian Styria.

Slovenian students associations play a crucial role in the representation of the rights of minorities – such associations are the Slovenian students club in Carinthia, the Slovenian students club in Graz and the Slovenian students club in Vienna. Active in Carinthia is also the Initiative Slovene consensus for constitutional rights (SKUP), which is advocating for the enforcement of the internationally and nationally guaranteed rights of Slovenians in Carinthia.

Member of the Slovenian National Minority from Carinthia Olga Voglauer has a current term in the federal Parliament (Green Party). 

The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Vienna follows the situation of the Slovenian national community in Austria and maintains regular contact and co-operation in culture, education, economy, politics and other fields.

Cultural cooperation

The Slovenian Cultural and Information Center SKICA is responsible for presenting and promoting Slovenian culture and art in Austria. It is the first cultural institute of the Republic of Slovenia abroad and represents a joint project of the Ministries of Culture and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia. SKICA is an active member of the EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) Austria group.