Skip to main content »

Statment by the Defence Minister

Defence Minister, dr. Ljubica Jelušič (foto: STA)

What is Slovenia like after its five-year membership in the NATO alliance?

 

The accession of our country to the North Atlantic Alliance was characterized by a special social act, a referendum regarding its NATO membership. Therefore, the political decision to join NATO was so much more important. The successful referendum required a lot of discussions and public appearances, as well as arguments and explanations regarding advantages and disadvantages of NATO. Later, as a full NATO member we lost the communication with our public, and their doubts regarding the sense of NATO membership reinforced with the increasing lack of information.

After the five-year NATO membership I am aware that public doubts regarding the NATO membership are decreasing, however, in the time of crisis the following question is brought up over and over again: how costly is security within NATO? Therefore it is important that activities, undertaken by Slovenia as a NATO member, are correctly communicated to the public. Slovenia is participating in various integrated NATO structures, worth mentioning is especially its participation in international operations and missions. To date Slovenia has participated in the following NATO-led operations: SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina, KFOR in Kosovo, NTM-I in Iraq, ISAF in Afghanistan and a humanitarian operation in Pakistan. Its participation seemed as a dispersed operation, both in terms of space and content, without a clear specialization. In the future the Republic of Slovenia needs a comprehensive strategy for the participation in international operations and abroad. In addition, it must also respect the principles of concentration and specialization. The NATO membership has made a significant contribution to the area of economy since it offers the possibility of joint investments into double-purpose facilities, such as the Cerklje ob Krki Airport.

 

It is extremely important to understand that the North Atlantic Alliance is also an organization providing research possibilities. The NATO Research and Technology Organization and the Science for Peace Programme are open for numerous important, mainly net-working projects. As a NATO member, Slovenia has started to undertake also international political tasks on behalf of NATO. In this context it was responsible for Macedonia's preparations to enter the Alliance.

 

All in all, we can conclude that with its NATO membership Slovenia has benefited mainly in the areas of security and economic credibility. With its participation in international missions it has gained a significant amount of military experience, which would otherwise have been out of reach. With the NATO membership Slovenia has also gained the political power and appeared on the map of the countries which can considerably influence the long-term security and stability in military, as well as in economic and environmental aspects. The fact that NATO member states are creating the future of this organization cannot be ignored, and in this context we must all understand our basic responsibilities.