A Happy Marriage: A Quarter Century of Norwegian-Slovenian Diplomatic Relations

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Ambassador Olav Berstad handing over his letter of credence to President Borut Pahor, October 2016.

The protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations between Norway and Slovenia was signed in Ljubljana 18 February 1992, about a month after then Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg had sent Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel a letter announcing Norway’s recognition of independent Slovenia.

Since then, Slovenia has seen a great many positive developments, both in political, economic and social terms. Slovenia has caught up to Western and Northern Europe in many areas, and has in other areas even surpassed some of its Western and Northern partners. Slovenia now ranks among the greenest countries, the most gender equal countries and the most creative countries in the world. It has become a committed member of the UN, the EU, NATO and other international organisations. Slovenia has also been a force for peace and stability in the Western Balkans by supporting its fellow Balkan countries’ aspirations for Euro-Atlantic integration and by contributions through the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims.

This period has also seen a great many positive developments in Norwegian-Slovenian relations. We have listed some of the highlights below:

  • Mutual state visits:

    • Former President Milan Kučan paid a state visit to Norway in 1997.

    • His Majesty King Harald V of Norway visited Slovenia in May 2011 where he met met with President Danilo Türk at Brdo Castle outside of Ljubljana. He also visited Radovljica and Bled. This was the first state visit by Norway to Slovenia. During the visit King Harald also met with Dr Pavel Gantar, President of the National Assembly, and Prime Minister Borut Pahor.

  • Cooperation in international organisations:

    • Slovenia’s full membership of NATO in 2004 was an important step for the country, as well as for Norwegian-Slovenian relations. Among other things, both Norway and Slovenia have contributed to the efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. 

    • Similarly, Slovenia’s EU accession the same year meant that Slovenia became part of the Single Market, where Norway was already a member through the EEA Agreement. This opened new possibilities for both nations to increase trade and cooperation.

    • Both nations have also highly valued international cooperation through organisations such as the United Nations, OSCE and OECD.

  • EEA and Norway Grants to Slovenia:

    • First period of the EEA and Norway Grants to Slovenia, 2004-2009. The total allocation of funds was €18.6 million, which was spent on cultural heritage, health and childcare as well as the support for the Slovenian civil sector.

    • During the second period of the Grants Slovenia received €26,9 million, distributed among 123 projects, with public health, cultural heritage, environmental protection and civil society as prioritized areas once more.

    • For the period 2014-2021 period Slovenia has been allocated €37,7 million, and negotiations about how to manage and distribute these currently ongoing/will begin shortly.

  • Opening of Slovenian Consulate in Oslo:

    • In May 2016 Slovenia opened its consulate in Oslo in May 2016, with the attendance of Slovenian State Secretary Bavdaž Kuret.

  • Common love for Ski Jumping

    • In 1933 the world’s largest Ski Jump Hill was constructed in Planica. Birger Ruud, a Norwegian, set the world record with 92 meters during the first international competition in the hill.

    • The new Vikersund Ski Flying Hill, Norway’s largest Ski Jump hill, was designed by Slovenian Janez og Sebastjan Gorišek.

      On this 25th anniversary we are happy to say that Slovenia and Norway are successful partners and allies, and we look forward to the next 25 years together!