Slovenia as an EU Member State
Slovenia is part of a community of 27 EU Member States that are deeply connected economically, socially and politically. It is represented in all EU institutions and participates in all decisions taken by these institutions. It has a Commissioner in the European Commission, eight Members in the European Parliament and an equal voice in the decisions of the EU Council with all other Member States.
Since 1 May 2004, Slovenia has been a full member of the EU. In addition to the financial and development advantages of EU membership, Slovenian citizens could now work in other Member States, and travelling within the EU after Slovenia's entry into the Schengen area was greatly simplified. On 1 January 2007, Slovenia deepened its ties with other EU Member States, when it as the 13th Member State adopted the single European currency – the euro, which significantly simplifies the operation of enterprises and the payment of citizens.
Slovenia as a Schengen Area country
Slovenia became a member of the Schengen Area on 21 December 2007 when it abolished border control at its internal land and sea borders with EU Member States. Checks at air borders were lifted on 30 March 2008.
Upon joining the EU, Slovenia, like other new Member States, assumed the obligation to establish an appropriate new regime at the EU's external borders. In line with the acquis, this meant the establishment of a new regime at the borders of EU Member States and non-EU countries or third countries. Slovenia has therefore established security, customs and inspection controls on its part of the EU external border with Croatia and ensured their implementation in accordance with EU standards.
By joining the Schengen Area, Slovenia abolished border controls at its border with Austria, Italy and Hungary, and at the same time strengthened controls at its border with Croatia, which has become the Schengen external border. The latter means that Slovenia carries out external border control checks on its border with Croatia on behalf of the Schengen member countries. In addition to Schengen controls, phytosanitary, customs and inspection controls are carried out at the EU external borders at specially designated checkpoints. In Slovenia, there are six such points: three on the land border (the Gruškovje, Obrežje and Jelšane border crossings), one railway point (the Dobova border crossing), one on the air border at Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and one on the sea border at the Port of Koper.
Slovenia as a euro area member
Slovenia introduced the euro on 1 January 2007 and became the first new Member State to join the euro area member countries. The transition from the Slovenian tolar to the euro was quick and smooth and without major problems, as Slovenia was already familiar with the euro, and it had a very positive attitude towards the introduction of the euro and expected mainly positive economic effects. At the end of June 2007, prices ceased to be displayed in both the tolar and euro.
The introduction of the euro was a milestone in the development of the EU and the biggest monetary change in the history of modern Europe. The euro puts the Economic and Monetary Union into practice. It builds on the success of the single market and makes a significant contribution to the economic stability needed for greater growth. The euro increases competition and innovation, benefits consumers and frees up funds for other areas such as social protection and education. In addition, it strengthens Europe politically and economically and, as a stable international currency, contributes to the stability of the global economy. With several successive enlargements, the size of the area covered by the EU has become its major competitive advantage, primarily reflected in the benefits that the single market brings to the Member States.
Slovenians in EU institutions
With its membership in the EU, Slovenia transferred the exercise of part of its sovereign rights to the EU and acquired the right to co-create the acquis and policies on an equal footing. Legal acts and decisions adopted at the EU level are transposed into the Slovenian national law and thereby have an effect on the lives of Slovenia’s citizens.
- A Commissioner from Slovenia works at the European Commission, representing the EU's common interests. The Commission's Directorates-General employ Slovenian citizens who also represent the interests of the EU. The Commission's expert committees include a number of Slovenian governmental and non-governmental representatives, who, as expert advisers, assist it in drawing up proposals for acts and measures. The Slovenian Commissioner in the European Commission
- Government representatives representing Slovenia's interests and positions operate in the Council of the EU. These are representatives of ministries and government offices and the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Slovenia to the EU at the level of high officials and public officials.
- Slovenia has eight members sitting in the European Parliament, who were elected in direct elections and represent the political interests of EU citizens. Slovenian Members of the European Parliament
- The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, who represents Slovenia's political interests, is a member of the European Council. Its meetings are also attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and increasingly also by the State Secretary responsible for European Affairs or the Minister of Finance. The participation of the State Secretary and the Minister of Finance depends on the content of the acts discussed.
- The work of the Economic and Social Committee also involves the participation of seven Slovenian members representing the interests of employers, trade unions and various interest groups.
- There are seven Slovenian members and seven alternates in the European Committee of the Regions, representing two representative organisations of Slovenian local communities – the Association of Municipalities and Towns of Slovenia and the Association of Municipalities of Slovenia.
- Slovenian citizens working at the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Auditors are completely independent in their work, both of the interests of the Slovenian Government and of the influences of EU institutions.
- The Governor of the Bank of Slovenia is a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, while other experts of the Slovenian central bank participate in the ECB's working bodies. The ECB is the central bank of 19 EU Member States that have adopted the euro. Its main task is to maintain price stability in the euro area and thus the purchasing power of the single currency.
Common European activities
Slovenia recognises the importance of a strong Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). Slovenia has been actively engaged in co-shaping these two EU policies and will also devote particular attention to horizontal and regional topics in its strategic interest. Taking account of EU needs and its own interests and capacities, Slovenia will participate in civilian missions and military operations in crisis areas. Special attention will also be paid to the situation in the Western Balkans and cooperation with the countries of the region.
Advocate of EU enlargement
Slovenia will continue to promote EU enlargement, particularly to the Western Balkans, as the European Union's strongest geopolitical mechanism and as one of the most effective means of enhancing political and economic stability and security. In addition, Slovenia will provide support to the Western Balkan countries acceding to the European Union through the Brdo-Brijuni Process.
Slovenian EU Council Presidency
The EU Member States hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU (one of the three main EU institutions along with the European Commission and the European Parliament) under a pre-defined rotation system. Each country holds the presidency for six months. Slovenia first presided over the EU Council in the first half of 2008 and will re-assume the Presidency in the second half of 2021.