Since Slovenia declared independence in 1991, its Governments have underscored their commitment in improving cooperation with neighbouring countries and to actively contribute to international efforts aimed at bringing stability to Southeast Europe. Resource limitations have nevertheless been a problem hindering the efficiency of the Slovenian diplomacy. In the 1990s, foreign relations, especially with Italy, Austria and Croatia, triggered internal political controversies. In the last eight years, however, a wide consensus has been reached among the vast majority of Slovenian political parties to jointly work in the improvement of the country's diplomatic infrastructure and to avoid politicizing the foreign relations by turning them into an issue of internal political debates.
Slovenia has a record of supporting the U.S. position on Kosovo, both in regular public statements by top officials and on the Security Council. Prior and during the Kosovo War of 1999, Slovenian top government officials called repeatedly for Slobodan Milošević's compliance with NATO demands. Slovenia granted NATO use of its airspace and offered further logistical support. It also has pledged personnel to support NATO humanitarian operations in the region. Slovenia helped Macedonia deal with the refugee crisis by providing 880 million sit (US$4.9 million) of humanitarian aid, in addition to granting a concession for imported agricultural products. The Slovene Government allocated 45 million SIT (US$250,000) to help Albania, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia, one-third of which went to the latter. Slovenia took in over 4,100 Kosovar refugees during the crisis.
Slovenia's bilateral relations with its neighbors are generally good and cooperative. However, a few unresolved disputes with Croatia remain. They are related mostly to the succession of the former Yugoslavia, including demarcation of their common border. In addition, unlike the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia did not normalize relations with the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" (Serbia and Montenegro) until after the passing from power of Slobodan Milošević; although the Slovenes did open a representative office in Podgorica to work with Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović's government.
Succession issues, particularly concerning liabilities and assets of the former Yugoslavia, remain a key factor in Slovenia's relations in the region. On the whole, no conflicts mar relations with neighbors, which are on a sound footing. Numerous cooperative projects are either underway or envisioned, and bilateral and multilateral partnerships are deepening. Differences, many of which stem from Yugoslavia's time, have been handled responsibly and are being resolved.
The bilateral relations between Italy and Slovenia have improved dramatically since 1994 and are now at a very good level. In the early 1990s, the issue regarding property restitution to the Istrian exiles was hindering the development of a good relationship between the two countries. By 1996, however, the issue had been set aside, with Italy renouncing any revision of the Treaty of Osimo, allowing a significant improvement in relations. Italy was a firm supporter of Slovene EU and NATO membership, helping Slovenia technically and legislatively master its bid for membership in European and transatlantic institutions.
In 2001, the Italian Parliament finally approved the legislation resolving the last open issues regarding the Slovenian minority in Italy. The legislation, welcomed by both the representatives of the Slovenian minority in Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Slovenian government, started to be implemented in 2007, removing the last pending issue between the two countries. Since then, Italo-Slovene relations can be characterized as excellent.
Relations with Hungary are excellent. Unlike with some of Hungary's other neighours, minority issues have not been a problem in Hungarian-Slovene relations. The Hungarian minority in Slovenia is granted a policy of positive discrimination under the Slovene constitution, and the legal status of Hungarian Slovenes is good.
Within the Multilateral Cooperation Initiative between Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, cooperation exists in numerous fields, including military (Multinational Land Force peacekeeping brigade), transportation, combating money laundering and organized crime, non-proliferation, border crossings, and environmental issues.
Relations between Austria and Slovenia are close. Austria was, next to Germany and the Holy See, the most firm supporter of Slovenia's independence. It firmly endorsed Slovenia's path into the European Union. Economic cooperation between the two countries is very important and has been expanding since the early 1990s. Regional cooperation, especially with the states of Carinthia and Styria, is well developed: as a concrete manifestation of the excellent state of regional relations, Slovenia, Austria, and Italy entered a joint bid to organize the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Nevertheless, some disagreements over the legal settlement of the Slovenian minority in Austria remain. Austria disputes Slovenia's official position of being the successor-state of Yugoslavia as a co-signer of the Austrian State Treaty; this however remains only a difference in opinions, since no legal action has been taken by any of the two governments. Austrian opposition to the nuclear power plant in Slovenia has also ceased to be an issue since Slovenia's entry to the European Union.
Other opened issues are the implementation of the joint management of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, the financial compensation for the Croatian depositors who lost their savings in the liquidation of the Slovenian-based Yugoslav bank Ljubljanska banka.
Tho most important disputed issue with Croatia is Slovenian and Italian opposition to the proclamation of the Croatian Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (Exclusive Economic Zone) in the Adriatic sea.
In a series of high-level meetings since the latter half of 1998, Slovenia and Croatia have been engaged in settling bilateral differences, a process which accelerated after the death of Croatian President Franjo Tuđman in 1999. Slovenia has supported Croatia's entry in the European Union, but has at times demanded that the opened bilateral questions be resolved before Croatia's accession to the Union.