Slovenia Energy and Security
Economy and energy
Compared with the countries of central-eastern Europe and the Balkan peninsula, the Slovenian economy has the highest levels of GDP per capita, reflecting a rapid development, which began in the first years of independence. The industrial sector accounts for almost a third of the total GDP, while the contribution from the primary sector is marginal. The tertiary sector is the most developed sector and generates 65% of the GDP. The growth of the latter sector has benefited particularly from the progressive integration process with the main European economies, as well as from the geographical position of the northern gateway to the Balkan peninsula: two reasons that have given a strong impetus to the improvement of the system of national transport, resulting in an increase in revenue. The development of infrastructures and the modernization of tourism structures then facilitated the take-off of this latter sector, today one of the most important. In the 1990s, the modernization of the economy, which already started from a level of relative development (Slovenia was the most commercially active region of the former Yugoslavia), was undertaken gradually, thus avoiding drastic and sudden reform programs.
If the growing economic partnership with the European Union has been an important catalyst for the growth of the Slovenian economy, at the same time it has been the main cause of the abrupt setback of GDP.national, which contracted by 7.8% in 2009 and again by 2.7% in 2012 and 1.1% in 2013. The global financial crisis also had repercussions on the level of incoming foreign investments, which have grown continuously since the first 1990s (except in 2001) with an average of around 18% per annum and now abruptly reduced. The 4.7 billion euro recapitalization of the banking system involving the three main credit institutions (Nova Ljubljanska, Nova Kreditna Maribor and Abanka Vipa) allowed the banking system to be reorganized without having to resort to the help of European partners. Parliament also approved a constitutional amendment introducing the balanced budget rule and in July 2015 approved the expected asset management strategy prepared by the government which substantially expands the plan agreed in 2013 for the progressive privatization of state-owned companies classified as strategic. The prospects for the next few years are of continuous growth, closely linked to the broader European context.
According to indexdotcom, Slovenia is heavily dependent on energy imports, first of all oil and gas, which cover about half of the national energy needs; the remaining 50% of demand is split between nuclear, renewables and coal.
Defense and security
The Slovenian army was established in 1993 with the reorganization of the Slovenian territorial defense, a military structure formed in 1991 from the merger between the paramilitary formation ‘Territorial defense’, which since 1968 had been established as a complementary defense force to the Yugoslav federal army, and the so-called ‘Maneuver Structure for National Protection’, an ancient militia similar to a national guard, also in charge of safeguarding the Slovenian territory, but of a secret nature and therefore under the control of Ljubljana.
The Slovenian armed forces have undergone a radical modernization in recent years, which ended in 2010 with their full professionalization. Despite its small size in numerical terms, the Slovenian army has been employed in recent years in various multinational military operations of NATO and the United Nations: from the I saf mission in Afghanistan to that in Kosovo (Kfor). Slovenian troops were also engaged in Bosnia, Lebanon, Syria, Serbia and Montenegro. It was Slovenia’s willingness to participate in international missions that represented the main stimulus for the reorganization of the army, transformed from a territorial defense force to a mobile force, capable of displacement in the context of peacekeeping operations. The entry into NATO, in addition to consolidating the guarantees of protection of territorial integrity, also allowed the Slovenian armed forces to participate in various joint exercises with the armies of the other member countries, increasing capacity and operations, but at the same time making new investments to ensure full interoperability.
Slovenia facing the migration crisis
Since September 2015, the government of Ljubljana has been committed to managing the refugee emergency who, from the Middle East and other crisis areas, arrive in Europe via the Balkan route. In fact, Slovenia represents the final stretch for immigrants who try to reach Austria or Hungary and from there to the countries of northern Europe. The intensity of the flow of immigrants (the Slovenian government calculates at least 10,000 daily entries) has generated tensions with Hungary – the border with which it has been closed at times – and, above all, with Croatia, accused by Slovenia of having accelerated passing through their own territory and having deliberately left the refugees on the Slovenian border. Among other things, the government has not ruled out the possibility of erecting a wall along all the 670 km of borders with Croatia, a section of which has already been completed. Misunderstandings have also arisen with Austria about the alleged intention of the Austrian government to block the crossings and build a barrier on the border with Slovenia. In addition to proposing the strengthening of interregional cooperation, involving Turkey as well, the government of Miro Cerar approved a provision that allows the army to assist the police forces in managing public order and is committed to respecting the plan of relocation of migrants established by the European Commission.