Slovenia. In January, the Slovenian Parliament passed a law that allows the border with Croatia to be closed, in order to stop migrants from entering the country. Neighboring countries Hungary and Austria also have similar laws.
According to Countryaah.com, the Slovenian men’s national basketball team became the European champion for the first time in September. When the team returned home from the final against Serbia in Istanbul, Turkey, they received tributes from tens of thousands of Ljubljanabor.
In November, Slovenian incumbent Borut Pahor won the second round of the presidential election. 54-year-old Pahor won with 53% of the vote against challenger Marjan Šarec, who got 47%. Pahor has become known as the “king of Instagram” because of his frequent use of social media on the internet.
2004 Accession to the EU and NATO
In June 2001, Russian President Vladimir Putin and US George W. Bush met for the first time. It happened in Slovenia in the former residence of President Tito. The election of Slovenia was highly strategic as it was not a member of NATO, and at the same time did not share the border with any former Soviet republic. The main agenda items at the summit were the US missile shield and NATO enlargement. The meeting took place two weeks before Slovenia and Croatia could celebrate the 10th anniversary of their secession from Yugoslavia.
The winner of the October general election was the Liberal Democrats, whose president, Janez Drnovsek, became prime minister. In December 2002, Drnovsek won the second round of the presidential election with 56% of the vote, becoming president. He was replaced at the Prime Minister post by Anton Rop. The center-left government coalition has 2/3 of the parliament behind it, and in 2002 negotiated both accession in the EU and in NATO. In a subsequent referendum in March 2003, 90% of Slovenians said yes to EU accession and 66% said yes to NATO. NATO accession took place formally on 1 April 2004 and accession to the EU on 1 May 2004.
Slovenia was the only country where the issue of NATO accession was put to a referendum, and at the same time it was strongly opposed to the US attack war on Iraq. 80% of the Slovenes were against the war. The murder of the Serbian political leader, Zoran Djindjic, showed how fragile the security situation in the Balkans can be, and it probably contributed to the relatively large majority joining NATO.
A constitutional court ordered in February 2004 that 18,000 Croats, Bosnians and Serbs should have restored their residence permit and other civil rights. Following Slovenia’s separation from Yugoslavia in 1992 and independence, the 18,000 had almost been deleted from public records, had been fired from their jobs, left without medical or social assistance rights, and had been without citizenship. This was now restored.