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Slovenia

From as early as the 9th century, Slovenia had fallen under foreign rulers, including partial control by Bavarian dukes and the Republic of Venice. With the exception of Napoleon's 4-year tutelage of parts of Slovenia and Croatia--the "Illyrian Provinces"--Slovenia was part of the Habsburg Empire from the 14th century until 1918. Nevertheless, Slovenia resisted Germanizing influences and retained its unique Slavic language and culture.

In 1918, Slovenia joined with other southern Slav states in forming the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes as part of the peace plan at the end of World War I. Renamed in 1929 under a Serbian monarch, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia fell to the Axis powers during World War II. Following communist partisan resistance to German, Hungarian, and Italian occupation and elimination of rival resistance groups, socialist Yugoslavia was born under the helm of Josip Broz Tito. During the communist era, Slovenia became Yugoslavia's most prosperous republic, at the forefront of Yugoslavia's unique version of communism. Within a few years of Tito's death in 1980, Belgrade initiated plans to further concentrate political and economic power in its hands. Defying the politicians in Belgrade, Slovenia underwent a flowering of democracy and an opening of its society in cultural, civic, and economic realms to a degree almost unprecedented in the communist world. In September 1989, the General Assembly of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia adopted an amendment to its constitution asserting Slovenia's right to secede from Yugoslavia. On December 23, 1990, 88% of Slovenia's population voted for independence in a referendum, and on June 25, 1990, the Republic of Slovenia declared its independence. A nearly bloodless 10-day war with Yugoslavia followed. Yugoslav forces withdrew after Slovenia demonstrated stiff resistance to Belgrade.

As a young independent republic, Slovenia pursued economic stabilization and further political openness, while emphasizing its Western outlook and central European heritage. Today, with a growing regional profile, a participant in the SFOR deployment in Bosnia and the KFOR deployment in Kosovo, and a charter World Trade Organization (WTO) member, Slovenia plays a role on the world stage quite out of proportion to its small size.

 

ECONOMY

Slovenia enjoys prosperity and stability that are too often the exception in central and Eastern Europe. Slovenia's economic success clearly illustrates the benefits of embracing liberal trade, following the rule of law, and rewarding enterprise. This success, however, is not unprecedented for Slovenia. Although it comprised only about one-thirteenth of Yugoslavia's total population, it was the most productive of the Yugoslav republics, accounting for one-fifth of its GDP and one-third of its exports. The country already enjoyed a relatively prosperous economy and strong market ties to the West when it gained independence in 1991. Since independence, Slovenia has pursued diversification of its trade toward the West and integration into Western and transatlantic institutions vigorously. In so doing, it has made substantial progress in its transition to a market economy, particularly becoming party to a number of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. Slovenia is a founding member of the WTO, joined CEFTA in 1996. Slovenia also participates in SECI, as well as in the Central European Initiative, the Royaumont Process, and the Black Sea Economic Council.

Today, Slovenia is one the best economic performers in central and eastern Europe, with a GDP per capita reaching nearly U.S.$9,500--72% of the EU average. Slovenia's progress was duly recognized recently as the country received an official invitation in December 2002 to join the European Union (EU) in May 2004. Slovenia benefits from a well-educated and productive work force as well as dynamic and effective political and economic institutions. Although Slovenia has taken a cautious, deliberate approach to economic management and reform, with heavy emphasis on achieving consensus before proceeding, its overall record is one of success.

Slovenia has enjoyed healthy growth figures for the past 7 years, averaging 4.1% annual GDP growth. The European economic slowdown reduced the pace of growth somewhat beginning in 2001. GDP growth for 2002 is expected to reach 3.2% and 3.7% growth is forecasted for 2003. Slovenia's economy is highly dependent on foreign trade. Trade equals about 120% of GDP (exports and imports combined). About two-thirds of Slovenia's trade is with the EU, a primary motivation for seeking membership. Additionally, the country has penetrated successfully the south and east European markets, including the former Soviet Union region. This high level of openness makes Slovenia extremely sensitive to economic conditions in its main trading partners and changes in its international price competitiveness. Keeping labor costs in line with productivity is thus a key challenge for Slovenia's economic well-being. Services, notably in the financial sector, contribute the most to the national output, accounting for more than 60% of GDP. Industry and construction comprise over one-third of GDP; and, agriculture, forestry, and fishing account for nearly 3% of GDP.

Economic management in Slovenia is relatively good. Public finances have shown modest deficits on the order of 1.4% of GDP through 2001. The recently adopted budgets for 2003 and 2004 constrain public deficit to 1% of GDP, well within Maastricht parameters. The debt to GDP ratio is 37% of GDP (2001). The habitual current account deficits experienced for the last 4 years have improved significantly as a result of stronger exports and a changed composition of imports by economic purpose. In 2001, the current account deficit was a negligible 0.4% of GDP (U.S.$67 million) and is expected to turn into a surplus in 2002. Controlling inflation remains a top government priority. While the authorities have been successful in stabilizing the Slovenian Tolar and in bringing inflation down from more than 200% in 1992 to an estimated 7.5% in 2002, inflation edged up from 1999 with the introduction of a value-added tax.

Due to its macroeconomic stability, favorable foreign debt position, and successful accession talks with EU, Slovenia consistently receives the highest credit rating of all transition economies--receiving the top regional honors in a recent Dunn & Bradstreet survey. Slovenia's ability to meet its growth rate objectives will largely depend on the state of the world economy, since exports demand in Slovenia's primary market has stalled. Foreign direct investment will take up the slack to some extent, as analysts forecast FDI levels will continue to increase with further privatization of state assets, including portions of the telecommunications, financial, and energy sectors. Slovenia must carefully address fiscal, monetary, and FDI policy, in light of the high deficit in pension accounts, its vulnerable Western export markets, and inflation concerns.

Slovenian enterprises have a tradition of market orientation that has served them well in the transition period, as they moved energetically to reorient trade from former Yugoslav markets to those of Central and Eastern Europe. However, in many cases under the Slovenian brand of privatization, managers and workers in formerly "socially owned" enterprises have become the majority shareholders, perpetuating the practices of "worker management" that were the hallmark of the Yugoslav brand of communism. Difficulties associated with that model are expected to decrease under competitive pressures, as shares in these firms change hands, and as EU-oriented reforms introduce more Western-oriented governance practices.

Slovenia's entry into the European Union, expected in May 2004, provides the impetus for further economic improvements. Economic policy will be geared largely toward EU accession over the next 2 years. The government will focus on adopting EU rules on the internal market, structural economic reform, reform of the judiciary and public administration, and introduction of E-administration. Harmonization with EU laws and regulations will remain a major challenge to the government for the next couple of years. Slovenia's position with respect to other CEE countries will decline without further vigorous reforms.

The EU expressed some dissatisfaction with the pace of harmonization in Slovenia and has joined the United States and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in urging Slovenia to expedite necessary structural reforms. Following a lukewarm report card from Brussels in November 2000, the government redoubled its efforts to that end, stressing implementation of newly adopted legislation. This resulted in a fairly positive EU assessment in October 2002. Slovenia's continued success will hinge mainly on the success of fiscal reform, wage restraint, removal of administrative barriers, and its ability to open its economy further. With the entry into force of Slovenia's Europe Agreement and the intensification of discussions in Brussels over EU membership, Slovenia has taken some important steps to free up its financial markets. This sector historically has been one of the most protected, reflecting Slovenian concerns over limited capacity to face global competition and a desire to maintain domestic control over finance.

A combination of market forces, changes in Bank of Slovenia regulations, and national legislation are moving this sector increasingly in a more globally oriented direction. By the end of 2003, it will become easier and more transparent to make both portfolio and direct investments in Slovenia and to conduct many financial operations, including banking, securities brokering, and undertaking various credit transactions. The banking sector also is showing signs of stirring from its relative inactivity, as pressures build to consolidate Slovenia's myriad banks build and as privatization of two of the largest banks proceeds. Insurance reform is still pending.

Government efforts and reforms designed to attract foreign direct investment have proven successful--FDI almost tripled from 2001 to 2002, accounting for nearly 6.5% of GDP. Slovenia's traditional anti-inflation policy in the past relied heavily on capital inflow restrictions. Its slow privatization process favored domestic investors and prescribed long lag time on share trading, complicated by a cultural wariness of being "bought up" by foreigners. As such, Slovenia has had a number of impediments to full foreign participation in its economy. However, a number of these barriers to FDI were fully removed in 2002. As a result, expected foreign takeovers of Slovenian blue chip companies, as well as EU membership, have fueled investors' interest in the country. Recent acquisitions by multinational companies--KBC of Belgium's takeover of Nova Ljubljanska Banka, and Swiss Novartis' takeover of Lek Pharmaceuticals--clearly demonstrate the attractiveness of the Slovenian economy, particularly to European investors seeking a platform to support expansion into southeastern Europe. U.S. investments in Slovenia have been more modest, Goodyear and Western Wireless International being the two largest American investors. Removal of administrative barriers, further liberalization of the financial sector, completion of privatization, and progress on company restructuring are necessary to improve economic performance at the macro and micro levels. Without these measures, employment and FDI figures may not reach their full capacity.

 

BELIEFS

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice.

There were no formal requirements for recognition as a religion by the Government. Religious communities must register with the Government's Office for Religious Communities if they wish to be registered as legal entities, and registration entitles such groups to value-added tax rebates on a quarterly basis. All groups in the country reported equal access to registration and tax rebate status.

After World War II, much church property owned by the Roman Catholic Church--church buildings and support buildings, residences, businesses, and forests--was confiscated and nationalized by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. After Slovenian independence in 1991, Parliament enacted a law calling for denationalization (restitution or compensation) within a fixed period. By September 79 percent of the 37,988 denationalization claims had been resolved completely. During the year, the Government reallocated existing resources, including judges, to reduce the backlog.

The appropriate role for religious instruction in schools continued to be an issue of debate. The Constitution states that parents were entitled to give their children "a moral and religious upbringing." Only those schools supported by religious bodies teach religion.

Religious affiliation in Yugoslavia was closely linked with the politics of nationality; centuries-old animosities among the country's three main religions, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and Islam, remained a divisive factor in 1990. Forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs to Roman Catholicism by ultranationalist Croatian priests during World War II had made a lasting impression; more recently, Serbian official spokesmen often characterized Serbian conflicts with Kosovan nationalists as a struggle between Christianity and Islam. Religious tension existed even in the most prosperous regions: in the 1980s, local politicians delayed construction of an Orthodox church in Split and a mosque in Ljubljana, both predominantly Roman Catholic cities.

 

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

The crime rate in Slovenia is medium compared to other industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Slovenia. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Slovenia will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2000 was 4.07 per 100,000 population for Slovenia, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2000 was 4.37 for Slovenia, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2000 was 27.06 for Slovenia, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2000 was 21.92 for Slovenia, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2000 was 538.15 for Slovenia, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2000 was 1330.58 for Slovenia, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2000 was 74.57 for Slovenia, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 2000.72 for Slovenia, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA.

 

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1995 and 2000, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder decreased from 4.66 to 4.07 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 12.7%. The rate for rape increased from 4.2 to 43.7, an increase of 4 %. The rate of robbery increased from 16.56 to 27.06, an increase of 63.4%. The rate for aggravated assault decreased from 24.15 to 21.92, a decrease of 9.2%. The rate for burglary increased from 496.09 to 538.15, an increase of 8.5%. The rate of larceny increased from 480.09 to 1330.58, an increase of 177.2%. The rate of motor vehicle theft increased from 36.15 to 74.57, and increase of 106.3%. The rate of total index offenses increased from 1061.9 to 2000.72, an increase of 88.4%.

 

POLICE

As of year 2002, the police were under the effective civilian control of the Ministry of the Interior, which was responsible for internal security. By law the armed forces did not exercise civil police functions. Members of the security forces occasionally committed human rights abuses.

The Constitution prohibits such practices; however, human rights observers alleged that police in several cases used excessive force against detainees. The Criminal Code does not separate out torture as a criminal act, but such crimes are prosecuted based on the nature of each incident (i.e., severe physical injury, extreme injury, or extortion of a statement).

Slovenia faced the challenge of establishing independent armed forces. A major reorganization of the Slovene Armed Forces is currently underway, with the goal of changing from a conscription-based territorial defense force to a professional, deployable, and combat capable military with NATO. The Slovene Armed Forces currently consists of about 5,500 professional soldiers and about 34,000 conscripts and reservists. Conscription will end in June 2004, and compulsory reserve service will end by 2010. By the time Slovenia enters NATO in 2004, the professional force should number about 6,900 soldiers and about 12,000 reservists. The current force structure consists of one fully professional motorized infantry brigade and two cadre/reserve force mechanized brigades. The professional brigade represents Slovenia's deployable reaction force. The Slovene Armed Forces also include a small air force, equipped with helicopters and turbo-prop fixed wing aircraft, and a naval attachment, including a coastal patrol boat.

The United States provides bilateral military assistance to Slovenia, including through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, the State Partnership Program (aligned with Colorado), and the EUCOM Joint Contact Team Program.

 

DETENTION

The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the Government generally observed these prohibitions.

The authorities must advise detainees in writing within 24 hours, in their own language, of the reasons for the arrest. Until charges are brought, detention may last up to 6 months; once charges are brought, detention may be prolonged for a maximum of 2 years. Persons detained in excess of 2 years while awaiting trial or while their trial is ongoing must be released pending conclusion of their trial. During the year, 1,221 persons were in pretrial detention. The problem of lengthy pretrial detention was not widespread and defendants generally were released on bail, except in the most serious criminal cases. The law also provides safeguards against self-incrimination.

The Constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government did not employ it.

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice. The judiciary generally provided citizens with a fair and efficient judicial process.

The judicial system consists of district courts, regional courts, courts of appeals, an administrative court, and the Supreme Court. A nine-member Constitutional Court rules on the constitutionality of legislation, treaties, and international agreements and is the highest level of appeal for administrative procedures. Judges, elected by the National Assembly (Parliament) upon the nomination of the Judicial Council, are constitutionally independent and serve indefinitely, subject to an age limit. The Judicial Council is composed of six sitting judges elected by their peers and five presidential nominees elected by the Parliament.

The Constitution provides for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right. Constitutional provisions include equality before the law, presumption of innocence, due process, open court proceedings, the right of appeal, and a prohibition against double jeopardy. Defendants by law have the right to counsel, and the State provides counsel for the indigent. These rights were generally respected in practice, although the judicial system was overburdened and as a result, the judicial process frequently was protracted. In some instances, criminal cases reportedly have taken from 2 to 5 years to conclude the trial. For example, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) criticized the Government for prosecuting two police officers 6 years after their alleged mistreatment of a German citizen. There were no reports of political prisoners.

 

COURTS

Slovenia had two national court systems, one for resolution of civil and criminal cases, the second to judge the conformity of national law with the Constitution and the conformity of laws passed by republics and provinces with national law. In 1990 the federal constitutional court found recent amendments to the constitutions of all the republics except Montenegro to be at variance with the federal Constitution. The court did not have the authority, however, to take action against such infractions. Its judgments were passed to the Federal Assembly for action. The federal constitutional court also resolved disputes of authority between regional bodies or between a regional body and the national government, but it did not act as an appeals court for the regional level. The republics and provinces also had constitutional courts, which dealt with constitutional questions on their level. For national uniformity, the members of the regional courts held regular consultations on procedures and constitutional interpretations.

The regular court system consisted of the federal, republican, and provincial supreme courts, and local (commune) courts, each resolving civil and criminal cases involving laws at their level of government. Local regular courts included untrained citizens elected by their communes, as well as professional jurists. This provision partially fulfilled the function of trial by jury, which did not exist. The Yugoslav system also had no habeas corpus law. Only professional judges served on the regular courts of the republics and the federal Supreme Court. The system also included local- to federal-level self-management courts (courts of associated labor), which heard only cases involving acts of the self-management organizations, not involving government law. The military courts completed the Yugoslav justice system.

Each republic and province had its own law code, separate from the Criminal Code of the Socialist Federaled Republic of Yugoslavia. By federal law, political crimes were first tried at district level, then cases could be appealed at the republic and federal levels of the regular court system. The federal Supreme Court was the final court of appeal for lower courts of all types. The chief civil law enforcement officer was the public prosecutor, elected by the Federal Assembly. The republics and provinces had corresponding officers, similarly elected and under the direction of the federal prosecutor.

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice. The judiciary generally provided citizens with a fair and efficient judicial process.

The judicial system consists of district courts, regional courts, courts of appeals, an administrative court, and the Supreme Court. A nine-member Constitutional Court rules on the constitutionality of legislation, treaties, and international agreements and is the highest level of appeal for administrative procedures. Judges, elected by the National Assembly (Parliament) upon the nomination of the Judicial Council, are constitutionally independent and serve indefinitely, subject to an age limit. The Judicial Council is composed of six sitting judges elected by their peers and five presidential nominees elected by the Parliament.

As of year 2002, the Constitution provided for the right to a fair trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right. Constitutional provisions include equality before the law, presumption of innocence, due process, open court proceedings, the right of appeal, and a prohibition against double jeopardy. Defendants by law have the right to counsel, and the State provides counsel for the indigent. These rights were generally respected in practice, although the judicial system was overburdened and as a result, the judicial process frequently was protracted. In some instances, criminal cases reportedly have taken from 2 to 5 years to conclude the trial. For example, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) criticized the Government for prosecuting two police officers 6 years after their alleged mistreatment of a German citizen.

 

CORRECTIONS

In year 2002, prison conditions generally met international standards; however, jails were overcrowded. During the year, there were 1,710 individuals housed in prisons, of which 65 were adult females and 13 were juveniles. Male and female prisoners were held separately, juvenile offenders were held separately from adults, and convicted criminals were held separately from pretrial detainees. The Government permitted prison visits by independent human rights observers and the media, and such visits took place during the year.

 

WOMEN

Violence against women occurred and was underreported; however, awareness of spousal abuse and violence against women increased. SOS Phone, an NGO that provided anonymous emergency counseling and services to domestic violence victims, received thousands of calls throughout the year. The State partially funded three shelters for battered women. The shelters operated at capacity (approximately 40 beds combined) and turned away numerous women. In cases of reported spousal abuse or violence, the police actively intervened and prosecuted offenders. Although the law allows police to fine or arrest either male or female aggressors in cases of domestic violence, reports indicated that in practice only men were fined and arrested.

Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation was a problem.

Sexual harassment is not explicitly prohibited by law; however, it can be prosecuted under sections of the Criminal Code that prohibit sexual abuse. Sexual harassment and violence remained serious problems.

State policy provides for equal rights for women and there was no official discrimination against women or minorities in housing, jobs, or education. Under the Constitution, marriage is based on the equality of both spouses, and the Constitution stipulates that the State shall protect the family, motherhood, and fatherhood.

In rural areas, women, even those employed outside the home, bore a disproportionate share of household work and family care, because of a generally conservative social tradition. However, women frequently were active in business and in government executive departments. Although both sexes had the same average period of unemployment, women frequently held lower paying jobs. On average women's earnings were 85 percent of those of men.

 

CHILDREN

The Government provided compulsory, free, and universal primary school education for children through grade 9 (ages 14 and 15). Ministry of Education statistics showed an attendance rate of nearly 100 percent of school-aged children. The Government provided universal health care for all citizens, including children. The Constitution stipulates that children "enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms consistent with their age and level of maturity."

Special protection for children from exploitation and mistreatment is provided by statute. Social workers visited schools regularly to monitor any incidents of mistreatment or abuse of children.

There was no societal pattern of abuse of children; however, in 2001 187 cases of child abuse were reported, 80 were prosecuted, and 55 cases resulted in convictions. There were 239 acts of sexual attack on a minor committed during the year.

 

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The law does not prohibit trafficking in persons; however, trafficking of women through and to the country was a problem. The law on "enslavement" prescribes criminal prosecution for a person who "brings another person into slavery or a similar condition, or keeps another person in such a condition, or buys, sells or delivers another person to a third party," or brokers such a deal.

Government officials generally were not involved in trafficking, although there was anecdotal evidence that some government officials tolerated trafficking at the local level.

In 2000 the Government apprehended a suspected organized-crime boss whose alleged crimes included trafficking in persons; his trial was ongoing at year's end. Victims were not encouraged to file complaints, and very few cases were reported to the police. The Government did not provide protection for victims and witnesses. In 2001 the Government established a National Coordinator for Trafficking in Persons and an interagency working group that based its activities on the National Strategy to combat trafficking.

The country was primarily a transit point for trafficking in persons, although it was also a destination country. Most victims were women trafficked into sexual exploitation from Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova, Russia, Romania, and Bulgaria. They were trafficked into the country and also onward to Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Slovenia was also a country of origin, but the number of women trafficked out of the country was not known and was believed to be very low.

Many women trafficked into the country were promised work as waitresses or artists in nightclubs. It was common for nightclub owners to import illegally foreign nationals into the country and arrange work permits for them as auxiliary workers and dancers. Often the promised work did not provide enough money, so the women were encouraged to turn to prostitution. Women who were victims of trafficking reportedly were subjected to violence. Organized crime was responsible for some of the trafficking. In general victims trafficked into the country were not treated as criminals; however, they usually were deported either immediately upon apprehension or following their testimony in court.

Sentences for enslavement convictions range from 1 to 10 years' imprisonment. Persons also can be prosecuted for rape, pimping, procurement of sexual acts, inducement into prostitution, sexual assault, and other related offenses. The penalty ranges from 3 months' to 5 years' imprisonment or, in cases involving minors or forced prostitution, 1 to 10 years' imprisonment. Regional police directorates had departments that investigated trafficking and organized crime.

Although the Government did not provide protection services, NGOs operated safe houses and counseling services for female victims of violence. These generally were full, and NGOs reported that a trafficking victim would not be given shelter unless she was in immediate danger. Victims of trafficking who did not have proper identity documents were given shelter at a refugee center until they could be returned to their native country. The domestic NGO Kljuc continued to work to increase public awareness of the trafficking problem, to draft a specific law against trafficking, to assist trafficked women returning home, and to improve networking among other NGOs in the region.

In an effort to prevent trafficking, the Ministry of Interior produced pamphlets and other informational materials for awareness-raising programs to sensitize potential target populations to the dangers of and approaches used by traffickers. The Ministry also worked with NGOs to assist the small number of Slovene victims with reintegration.

 

DRUG TRAFFICKING

The Government of Slovenia is, as a successor state to the Socialist Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia, a party to the 1988 UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Since independence in 1991, Slovenia has actively sought to meet the Convention's goals.

Due to its location between the Balkans and Central and Western Europe, Slovenia has the potential to develop into a major drug trafficking route. Militating against this, however, is a high standard of living and a professional police organization. Nevertheless, heroin from Turkey is smuggled through Slovenia to Western Europe. Slovenia is also being used as a transit country for the smuggling of cocaine from South America to Europe, taking advantage of the harbors along the North Adriatic coast (Rijeka, Koper and the Italian port of Trieste).

Cannabis is transported from Morocco via Spain, France and Italy to Slovenia, where some is consumed locally and the rest goes to Austria and Northern Eastern Europe. Slovenian citizens are transporters and financiers in cannabis trafficking. Certain hallucinogenic drugs, such as "ecstasy" (MDMA) and LSD are shipped to Slovenia from Western Europe, most commonly from the Netherlands.

While the amounts are not significant on an international level, there is an increase in the domestic cultivation and availability of marijuana. Marijuana can be grown easily all over Slovenia and there are many rural areas where cannabis can be grown without fear of detection by law enforcement entities.

Drug abuse is not a major problem in Slovenia - only 309 drug-related convictions were recorded in 1996, or about 0.02 percent of the 15-or-over population. Anecdotal evidence suggests that cannabis use is fairly common among university-aged Slovenes, but use of cocaine, opiate derivatives, amphetamines, barbiturates and designer drugs appears to be extremely limited.

Slovenia's economic stability and strategic location on the Balkan drug route make it an attractive venue for money laundering. The major sources of illegal proceeds include, in addition to narcotics trafficking, organized crime-related auto theft, fraud, tax evasion, alien smuggling and the smuggling of goods. Organized crime activity is a problem, but to a lesser extent than in neighboring countries.

Slovenia participates in the Southeastern Europe Cooperative Initiative (SECI), which has among its goals control over the increasing flow of narcotics trafficking across borders and closing links to transborder organized crime. Cooperation with SECI member states will assist Slovenia's efforts to combat the offenses that generate illegal proceeds laundered in Slovenia.

In FY1998, Slovene police officers participated in police management training at the State Department-funded International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest, as well as in specialized training offered there by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In early 1999 the USG will conduct a needs assessment mission to Slovenia to help determine how best to target U.S. law enforcement assistance.

No statistics are currently available on cultivation, production, distribution, sale, transport, financing, or demand reduction for narcotics in Slovenia.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Joshua P. Daguman and Emmanuel Alberto Martinez

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