Slovenia Celebrates 20 Years of International Recognition
Ljubljana, 15 January - Slovenia is celebrating on Sunday 20 years since the European Community, the precursor to today's European Union, recognised its independence. This was a turning point in the process which culminated with the country's full recognition as a member of the international community on 22 May 1992, when it became the 176th member of the United Nations.
Some other countries had already recognised Slovenia's independence prior to the European Community, with neighbouring Croatia, which declared independence on the same day as Slovenia, doing it as soon as 26 June 1991.
Following Croatia in the second half of the year were the new countries emerging on the territory of the former Soviet Union, including the three Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Iceland, Sweden and Germany, which recognised Slovenia on 19 December 1991, were the first West European countries to recognise the new state. Germany however made its decision effective as of 15 January 1992 to coincide with the European Community.
The European Community's decision to recognise Slovenia, following the Brijuni Declaration from 7 July 1991, which ended the ten-day war in Slovenia, is considered the turning point in Slovenia's independence efforts.
The Declaration represents the first international accord between Slovenia and the European Community and its ratification in the Slovenian National Assembly on 10 July 1991 was the first time that Slovenia acted as an international entity.
While opening the channels for Slovenian diplomacy at the bilateral and multilateral levels, the recognition also spread the message that Slovenia was a responsible member of the international community.
International recognition allowed Slovenia to walk the path to Europe, while Slovenia's development in the wake of independence has been "a true success story", former Austrian Foreign Minister Alois Mock said.
As many as 92 countries recognised Slovenia by August 1992, many following the European Community's lead. Today Slovenia has diplomatic relations with more than 180 countries around the world.