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Slovenia ensures its security also within the framework of the collective security of Nato

On 4 April, the Alliance marks its 74th anniversary. On 29 March 2004, the Republic of Slovenia becomes part of the Alliance with the overwhelming support of its citizens.

The Republic of Slovenia, as an independent and democratic country, set itself the strategic goal of becoming a full member of the European Union and NATO as soon as it became independent in 1991. On the basis of the experience of the War of Independence, the Slovenian socio-political sphere was aware of the importance of the young country's integration into a structure that would enable it to guarantee peace beyond the borders of its homeland, the protection of its fundamental values, its vital national interests and its strategic security objectives, among which the central place is occupied by its integration into the collective defence system.

The Republic of Slovenia formally started the NATO membership process in 1993. A year later, it was one of the first to join the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and in the same year became an associate partner in the North Atlantic Assembly. On 23 March 2003, after a process lasting almost ten years, the referendum on Slovenia's accession to NATO was held, with 66.08% of the electorate voting in favour. This was followed by the final acts, including the adoption of the Law on the Ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia on 24 February 2004 and the deposit of the Instrument of Accession with the United States of America on 29 March 2004, thus making the Republic of Slovenia a formal member of NATO. The membership of the Republic of Slovenia in NATO has always provided us with a secure and stable environment for the economic development of the country and the realisation of national defence objectives, while contributing to the interoperability with other allied forces, the improvement of the competence and the readiness of the combat capability of the Slovenian Armed Forces units and service members.

Today, on the very anniversary of NATO, the allies will confirm at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers the historic decision to admit Finland to NATO, which will contribute to further strengthening security as the 31st ally.

Entry of a newly formed country into an organisation with a long tradition

NATO is an international military-political organisation, founded on 4 April 1949, in which member states cooperate in the field of security and defence. The organisation, which today marks its 74th anniversary, has time and again succeeded as the most successful defence alliance in pursuing the common political interests of its members, adapting to new threats and ensuring the prosperity and security of the Euro-Atlantic area. Together, NATO represents one billion people, half of the world's economic and military power. Throughout history, Allied unity has made a decisive contribution to ending the Cold War, establishing peace in the Balkans and countering terrorist threats after the attacks of 11 September 2001, with the activation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. After more than a year of military aggression in Ukraine, the Alliance is returning to its core mission of deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic area, while maintaining the importance of the other two core tasks of crisis management and cooperative security, as set out in the NATO Strategic Concept at the last NATO Leaders' Summit in Madrid last year. At a time of strategic competition between the great powers, when authoritarian actors are increasingly seeking to divide the unity of the West and dismantle the principles of the international legal order, a strong transatlantic alliance remains the best security guarantee for Europe.

NATO provides collective security and facilitates consultation and cooperation in the fields of defence and security and joint crisis management operations.

NATO membership has strengthened our security and contributed to our long-term development. It has placed the Republic of Slovenia in the political and security framework of the most advanced Western countries and strengthened its international visibility as a democratic, peaceful and integration-oriented country. From the point of view of the military profession, NATO membership represents the best opportunity to develop an effective military organisation and provides the best contribution to the defence of one's own country. The Slovenian Armed Forces are thus part of the strongest and most effective military forces in the world, which imposes many obligations and offers many opportunities. Last but not least, the Alliance offers unique security guarantees to the Republic of Slovenia as a small country.

In accordance with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the Republic of Slovenia participates in the collective security system, which presupposes that the entire NATO membership would respond in the event of aggression on our territory. This also means that we do not have to develop certain capabilities contributed by other allies in the framework of the collective defence system. The Republic of Slovenia can therefore concentrate on developing those capabilities that we can and are capable of developing and training for our own defence or that of our allies, which in the long term leads to cost reductions.

The Republic of Slovenia also decides on security and political issues in the Euro-Atlantic area on an equal footing with other allies. Thus, within the Alliance, the Republic of Slovenia is consolidating its status as a secure country with a low risk and a safe living environment. Membership also brings other indirect benefits, such as investment in security, participation in scientific, technological and information flows, economic cooperation with the most advanced countries, early identification of threats and the fight against disinformation. It is also worth pointing out that membership gives us access to some new and breakthrough technologies that increase the effectiveness of the military organisation or increase security, which we would not have been able to obtain at the same time without membership.

NATO activities in the service of peace and the promotion of fundamental values

With the accession of the Republic of Slovenia to the North Atlantic Alliance, the Slovenian Armed Forces are taking an even more active part in supporting international peace. In international operations and missions, in accordance with the mandate and resolutions of the United Nations, the Slovenian Armed Forces actively contributes to joint international efforts to address security challenges and threats. In doing so, it also pursues defence, security, foreign policy and other key interests. In addition, the successful deployment of SAF members abroad enhances the recognition and reputation of our country as a responsible, solidary and committed member of the international community committed to international peace. The core task of international military cooperation is to pursue activities that effectively and directly support the functioning of the Republic of Slovenia as a partner and full member.

Adapting NATO to the new reality

The war in Ukraine, as one of the most serious security crises since the Second World War, has had a decisive impact on the changed understanding of the strategic security environment and has strengthened the awareness of the importance of NATO for the provision of collective defence in Europe. A unanimous decision was taken to strengthen the deterrence and defence posture throughout the Eastern wing of the Alliance.

Graduated Response Plans (GRPs) were activated for the first time, bringing elements of NATO's Response Force into play, contributions to the Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) were increased, and naval and air capabilities were strengthened. Four additional multinational battle groups have been established in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, complementing the existing battle groups in the Baltic States and Poland, and will be reinforced up to brigade level if necessary. The Republic of Slovenia has responded to the changed security situation by deploying a Light Motorised Infantry Company, which has been operating in the framework of the eVA Battlegroup in Slovakia since June last year, together with members of the Czech, German, Dutch, Polish and US armed forces. In line with the new NATO Force Model (NFM) and the Secretary General's statements, a significant increase of the response force pool from 40,000 to 300,000 is foreseen, which will have to be supported by a robust and integrated command structure and coordinated national and allied defence plans.

This year, one of the key turning points will be the NATO Summit in Vilnius on 11-12 July, where leaders are expected to reaffirm continued long-term support to Ukraine, endorse a renewed defence commitment and take important decisions on further adjustments to the Alliance's military posture, also in the light of the security challenges posed by the People's Republic of China, new breakthrough technologies and the impact of climate change.

Throughout history, the strength of an alliance has always been reflected in solidarity and unity, as countries together are stronger than any opponent is in economic, political and military term.