Original publication: March 2018
Author: Marek Kołodziejski
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This briefing was prepared to provide information for the European Parliament’s Committee on Regional Development delegation to Slovenia on 3-5 April 2018.

Introduction to Slovenia and its political and administrative system

Slovenia is located in the southern part of Central Europe. It borders Austria in the north, Croatia in the south, Italy in the west and Hungary in the east. Slovenia has access to the Adriatic Sea.

With the exception of its littoral region, the country is predominantly mountainous with a continental climate. Slovenia’s coastal region has a Mediterranean climate. Its highest mountain is Triglav (2 864 m).

Slovenia has the sixth smallest population and the fourth smallest territory in the European Union. Over half its territory is covered by forests.

Economic, social and territorial situation of Slovenia

Slovenia joined the EU on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2007, it became the first New Member State to join the Euro area. Slovenia is a member of both NATO (since 2004) and the OECD (since 2010). The official language is Slovenian.

Table 1: Key data

Slovenia is a parliamentary democratic republic with a head of government – the Prime Minister, elected by Parliament – and a head of state – the President, elected in direct elections. The President can serve for a maximum of two consecutive terms of five years. The current President, Borut Pahor, was elected for his second term in 2017. From 2004 to 2008, he served as a Member of the European Parliament (Socialist Group). The current Prime Minister is Miro Cerar of the Party of the Modern Centre (SMC), which has formed a coalition with the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) and the Social Democrats (SD). The next parliamentary elections are expected to take place in mid-20181.

The Slovenian Parliament comprises the National Assembly (Državni zbor) and the National Council (Državni svet)2. The National Assembly is the highest representative and legislative body. Ninety deputies are elected to the National Assembly by direct, secret ballot on the basis of the principle of universal and equal suffrage. The two representatives of the Italian and Hungarian national communities are each guaranteed a seat in the National Assembly. Members of the National Assembly are elected for a term of four years.

The National Council is the representative body for social, economic, professional and local interests; it represents the functional interests of different interest organisations and the interests of the local communities. Forty members are elected to the National Council from the relevant interest organisations and local communities through indirect suffrage by electoral bodies. The National Council comprises four representatives of employers, four representatives of employees, four representatives of farmers, the craft and trade sector and independent professions, six representatives of non-commercial interests and 22 representatives of local interests. Members of the National Council are elected for a term of five years.

The following political groups sit in the National Assembly:

  • Party of the Modern Centre (SMC) – Member of ALDE (but not represented in the European Parliament);
  • Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) – Member of the EPP;
  • Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia (DeSUS) – Member of ALDE;
  • Social Democrats (SD) – Member of S&D;
  • The Left (Levica);
  • New Slovenia – Christian Democrats (NSi) – Member of the EPP.

Representatives of the Italian and Hungarian minorities and non-affiliated members also sit in the National Assembly.
Slovenia has eight representatives in the European Parliament. They are members of the EPP group (5), the S&D (1), ALDE (1) and the Greens/EFA (1).

Table 2: Political summary

Slovenia is divided into 212 municipalities (občina). This figure includes 11 urban municipalities (mestna občina). Municipalities are bodies of local self-government. They are headed by a mayor (župan) who is directly elected for a term of four years.

The municipal council (obcinski svet) is the municipality’s deliberative and decision-making body and is composed of members elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year term. It is responsible for making the municipality’s main decisions, such as adopting local land and development plans and the municipal budget. The council also nominates the head of the municipal administration, who is a civil servant.

Slovenia does not have administrative regions. For the purposes of EU regional policy, it is divided into two NUTS 2 regions: Western Slovenia (Zahodna Slovenija) and Eastern Slovenia (Vzhodna Slovenija). There are also twelve statistical regions at NUTS 3 level without established self-government structures.

Map 2: Municipalities in Slovenia (urban municipalities in orange)

Link to the full briefing: http://bit.ly/617-462

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