Section: Country Profiles


slovenia Country Experts: Tomaž Deželan and Felicita Medved

CITSEE Papers on Slovenia

Citizenship in Slovenia: the regime of a nationalising or a Europeanising state?

Author: Tomaž Deželan


This paper attempts a comprehensive account of the Slovenian citizenship regime which has been only partially mapped by national and regional scholarship. The paper draws on a ‘nationalising state’ approach to demonstrate the nature of membership in a polity that emerged on the ruins of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). By considering the influence of the old regime on the incipient conception of citizenship and the nation-building process, the paper depicts the core dynamic in the field for the last two decades. With explorations of the initial determination of citizenry, the regulation of minorities, dual citizens and refugees, popular attitudes, the political elite’s attitudes towards non-ethnic Slovenes, and the impact of Europe, the paper provides evidence for the primacy of an ethno-cultural conception of membership, which is constrained by the embeddedness of the Slovenian citizenship regime within international and supranational frameworks.

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Other Papers on Slovenia

Country report: Slovenia

Author: Felicita Medved


This report focuses on državljanstvo of the Republic of Slovenia, i.e. on citizenship or nationality as a legal bond between a person and a sovereign state. The Slovene language is not aware of two terms, which would conceptually and linguistically emphasise different aspects of državljanstvo in legal, political and civic context. For example, in English, citizenship is a term associated primarily with the internal context, while the term nationality is more common in international law. However, the terms are often used as synonyms.

After tracing the history of citizenship in the territory of present day Slovenia, it gives a brief description of the evolution of the Slovenian citizenship legislation, both in terms of the initial determination of its citizenry at the inception of the state in June 1991 and the rules governing the acquisition and loss of citizenship. In fifteen years of statehood the legal regime on citizenship has undergone several changes. The Constitutional Law on citizenship was supplemented and changed five times, with the first supplement already adopted in December 1991 and the latest amendments made in November 2006. These developments have, on the one hand, implied an opening towards certain groups, either in response to international standards or for national interests. On the other hand, they have slowly supplanted the civic conception of citizenship that governed the initial determination of Slovenian citizenry in 1991 with a concept of nation as a community of descent.

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This paper has been produced in close collaboration with the European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship (EUDO-Citizenship) and has been made available as a EUDO country report on The paper followed the EUDO structure for country reports presenting historical background, current citizenship regimes and recent debates on citizenship matters in the country under scrutiny. 

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