Lying at the junction of central Europe and the Balkans, Slovenia seceded from socialist Yugoslavia in 1991. In 2004, it became the first former Yugoslav state to join the EU.
Geography: Alpine terrain with hills and mountains. Forests cover almost half the country’s area. There is a short coastline on the Adriatic Sea.
Climate: Mediterranean climate on the small coastal strip. The alpine interior has continental extremes.
People and Society: Long historical association with western Europe, accounts for the “Alpine” rather than “Balkan” outlook of Slovenia’s people, despite close similarities to other former Yugoslavs. The absence of sizable Serb or Croat minorities made for a relatively peaceful secession from Yugoslavia. There are small communities of Italians and Magyars (Hungarians) in the southwest and east respectively.
The Economy: First new EU member to join eurozone (in 2007). Export-oriented, so vulnerable to global economic trends. Competitive manufacturing industry. Sizable state-owned sector remains.
Insight: A wheel found in a marsh in 2003 is claimed to be the world’s oldest, pre-dating 3000 BCE
Official Name: Republic of Slovenia
Date of Formation: 1991
Population: 2.02 million
Total Area: 7820 sq. miles (20,253 sq. km)
Density: 258 people per sq. mile
Religions: Roman Catholic 96%, other 3%, Muslim 1%
Ethnic Mix: Slovene 83%, other 12%, Serb 2%, Croat 2%, Bosniak 1%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Euro = 100 cents