Ljubljana – On this day thirty years ago the members of the European Community, the EU’s precursor, recognised Slovenia’s independence. The decision triggered a wave of international recognitions and by August 1992 had been recognised by 92 countries worldwide.
Iceland became the first western country to recognise Slovenia’s independence, on 19 December 1991. Germany and Sweden did it the same day, with the caveat that the decision would take effect on 15 January 1992.
Russia’s recognition followed on 14 February and the United States, which had initially been reserved about independence efforts, on 7 April 1992. In May the same year, Slovenia became a member of the United Nations.
Slovenia’s first foreign minister, Dimitrij Rupel, said at a Presidential Palace ceremony this week that in the early 90s many abroad found it “hard to accept the fact of Slovenia’s independence”.
But a turnaround was eventually achieved, which Rupel attributes to the actions of Germany and its Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Dietrich Genscher, and to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
To honour the anniversary, the German Embassy in Ljubljana will be lit up in Slovenian colours today. In Berlin, the Slovenian Embassy building will light up in the colours of the German and Slovenian flag.
“Slovenia and Germany are not connected just by political partnership, but also by close friendship. Together we strive for a strong and united EU,W German Ambassador to Slovenia Adrian Pollmann wrote on the occasion.
The Italian Embassy in Ljubljana recalled that on 17 January 1992, President Francesco Cossiga became the first European leader to pay an official visit to Ljubljana.
“Over those thirty years Italy and Slovenia have forged intensive and diverse political, economic and cultural ties,” the embassy said, noting that in the last two years the intensity of bilateral ties has been unprecedented.