European Union became a brand new real deal of nowadays. Of course, there were countries that were confederations even before the EU, but not similar. The union brought a new type of agreement in the political arena. They were significant integrations without losing national or any other identity. The Schengen agreement became one of those. It introduced a fight of free movement and employment, but together with democracy, people have equal rights with locals.
Slovenia is a part of the Schengen zone and signed the Schengen treaty on 16 April 2003. The date of first implementation was the 21 December 2007 when finally Slovenia opened its country borders with no passport control to the rest of the European countries.
In this article, as a reader, you will discover what the Schengen zone is, the rights of Slovenians outside as well as others in Slovenia, and go thru the political path of Slovenia entering into the Schengen zone and the European Union.
Let’s go for it, welcome on board!
The Schengen Treaty was signed on 14 June 1985, in the Luxembourgish city with the same name. What’s interesting, it was signed only by five of ten members of the European Economic Community, the organization that was the basis for European Union. After ten years, it included all the countries of the EU then except the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Now, the agreement includes even some countries outside of the EU.
The agreement canceled visa checks within the area and allowed the individuals to travel freely. Therefore, if you are outside the agreement area, you can cross a border once and then travel to as many countries as you can. The period of stay depends on the visa type, but usually, it’s up to 90 days in one country.
If you are resident of a country inside the Schengen are, you travel to following countries without any formalities:
|Signed||Date of first|
|Austria||83,871||8,891,388||28 April 1995||1 December 1997|
|Belgium||30,528||11,482,178||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Czech Republic||78,866||10,665,677||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Denmark||43,094||5,752,126||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Estonia||45,338||1,322,920||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Finland||338,145||5,522,576||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|France||551,695||64,990,511||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Germany||357,050||83,124,418||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Greece||131,990||10,522,246||6 November 1992||1 January 2000|
|Hungary||93,030||9,707,499||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Iceland||103,000||336,713||19 December 1996|
18 May 1999
|25 March 2001|
|Italy||301,318||60,627,291||27 November 1990||26 October 1997|
|Latvia||64,589||1,928,459||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Liechtenstein||160||37,910||28 February 2008||19 December 2011|
|Lithuania||65,300||2,801,264||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Luxembourg||2,586||604,245||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Malta||316||439,248||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Netherlands||41,526||17,059,560||14 June 1985||26 March 1995|
|Norway||385,155||5,337,962||19 December 1996|
18 May 1999
|25 March 2001|
|Poland||312,683||37,921,592||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Portugal||92,391||10,256,193||25 June 1991||26 March 1995|
|Slovakia||49,037||5,453,014||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Slovenia||20,273||2,077,837||16 April 2003||21 December 2007|
|Spain||510,000||46,692,858||25 June 1991||26 March 1995|
|Sweden||449,964||9,971,638||19 December 1996||25 March 2001|
|Switzerland||41,285||8,525,611||26 October 2004||12 December 2008|
As you can notice, the list includes Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland, the countries that are not part of the European Union. They have special agreements with the EU, but not the parts. On the other side, they signed Schengen agreements as well, so in order to travel there, you should follow the procedure regarding any country of the Schengen area.
Moreover, there are countries that are not members of the Schengen Area but still have open borders with the area. They include Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. On the other hand, it’s understandable, because those countries are small and there is no reason to implement full border control there.
Furthermore, there are countries that are members of the EU, but they are not in the Schengen area yet. Here are those countries:
- United Kingdom
We mentioned the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland before. England now is not even in the EU as well. What about Romania, Croatia, and Cyprus, they are obliged to enter the area as soon as possible. Keep in mind Croatia, because you might want to travel there from Slovenia, and be prepared for passport control as well as having an appropriate visa if you are not the EU resident.
Political Path to Adoption
After gaining independence, Slovenia takes a direction into the European Union and NATO (Transatlantic Military Union). Those priorities were taken during the evolution of parties too. In 1992, after a successful campaign, DEMOS divided into parties again. The major one was the Liberal Democrats of Slovenia (LDS). It was the leading party and ruled Slovenia for almost 12 years. LDS was gathering enough votes to form governments in 1996 and 2000 as well.
Another party in the ruling coalition was The Social Democratic (SD). The magnet for the electorate of the party was its president Borut Pahor, who was the Prime Minister of Slovenia from November 2008 to February 2012, and now he is the 4th President of Slovenia.
In 2000, Pahor led his party in the coalition with the first one mentioned about the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia led by Janez Drnovšek, who was the Prime Minister for almost 10 years already. Thereby, the Slovenian national agenda shifted to a centrist approach. However, the right-wing consolidated power by way of two parties: Slovene People’s Party (SLS) and Slovene Christian Democrats (SKD).
Exactly theses political powers led Slovenia to the pro-European policy and therefore entering the union, adopting Euro currency and becoming a part of the Schengen area.
There were several cases when some of the European countries closed their borders. They included migration crises (France closed in 2011, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden, and Norway closed in 2015), terrorists attacked like in Paris in 2015. However, the biggest crisis is now. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries had to close all the internal borders.
Everything started in Italy that closed their borders at first. By the end of March 2020, almost all internal borders had been closed to non-essential travel, and most of that borders that were closed due to the coronavirus had been reopened by July 2020. Now, the situation is unstable and differs a lot from country to country.
Obviously, everything can be changed by inventing a vaccine or creating some other way to isolate and check people. The European traveling sphere has many negative consequences because of this, but it is an important measure of safety.
Slovenia Crossroad of Europe
Schengen area became a big plus in most of European countries. After two world wars, after hundreds of political reforms, after socialistic challenge, Europe finally created a perfect way to live in peace and happiness. Integration of Europe made it a great world power. If the 20th century can be described as only a bilateral world with two main ideological favorites, the 21st century is the words of human rights, freedom, and common access to information. European Union is perfectly suited to this ideology. Moreover, it gathered most of the countries with similar ideologies in order to develop them together.
The Schengen Area is a perfect example of this. People can work and travel freely here. In general, Europe is the place of uniting, democracy, and tolerance. Living without borders and without limitations is what makes the European man. Slovenians, as well as other nations of this region, can travel fluently, live wherever they want, and work in any country. This gives a wide range of possibilities in self-development and searching for the perfect place for living.
Now, Slovenians are happy to have such the country. Of course, it is not without flaws, but it is much better than some others. And being in the Schengen area plays a significant role in this.
Moreover, Slovenia is the country on the crossroad of the world: Central European and the Balkans. This makes Slovenian business to grow and Slovenian people to learn from all the neighbors, therefore from positive examples as well as from some negative ones.
The Schengen zone was the real question when deciding the political course of the country. At first, elites united against socialism, and after that, they did it the second time for the sake of the prosperous future. Because of them, Slovenians now can go to Austria or Italy without any border control, and buy their local coffee and without any currency exchange. Because of the political right course, they can work in those countries as well as the citizens of those countries can do this in Slovenia.