Državna proslava ob 20. obletnici vstopa Republike Slovenije v zvezo NATO.

Photo: Nebojša Tejić/Slovenian Press Agency

Joining NATO was a historic milestone that made our lives better and safer

Slovenia has been a full member of NATO since 29 March 2004. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of Slovenia's accession to the North Atlantic Alliance, a national celebration, organised by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and Ministry of Defence, was held at Brdo pri Kranju, with the President of the Republic of Slovenia and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Nataša Pirc Musar, delivering the keynote address. "NATO’s strength lies in deterrence, solidarity, mutual assistance and dialogue. We must therefore strive to make Slovenia an exemplary member and a strong link in the Alliance chain," President Pirc Musar emphasised.

Brdo pri Kranju, 28 Mar 2024


By joining NATO, the Republic of Slovenia achieved one of the key foreign policy goals it set itself after independence, demonstrating political unity and the support of its citizens in a consultative referendum. "Our decision has proved to be the right one. Membership has given us not only access to the defence alliance, but also recognition that we are part of a community based on democracy as a fundamental principle, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, territorial integrity and sovereignty," said the Slovenian President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in her keynote speech.

Državna proslava ob 20. obletnici vstopa Republike Slovenije v zvezo NATO.

According to President Pirc Musar, Slovenia's accession to NATO and the European Union was a historic milestone that has made our lives better and safer and has made it much easier for our country to pursue our fundamental national interests, including stability, peace, cooperation, and integration into global economic and development trends. The collective defence umbrella is the ultimate guarantee of stability and security. However, this Alliance is based on fair burden-sharing, close defence cooperation and real capabilities, and it is therefore important for the President to insist on honouring our commitments.

"Our membership of NATO has enabled us to spend less on defence than we used to in our former country, or than would have been necessary had we relied solely on our own defence. Standing alone would have required a larger defence force, a broader societal commitment, the development of a wide range of capabilities and the forging of specific partnerships," said President Pirc Musar, explaining the benefits of membership and adding that NATO provides us with what we might not be able to afford on our own, including airspace protection, access to space and satellite capabilities, security information sharing, mobilisation of natural disaster response coordination centres, training opportunities, and political and security consultations with a network of more than 40 partner nations and other organisations.

In her speech, President Pirc Musar highlighted that, despite working together to find effective solutions to regional and global challenges, common values and international legal forms are under increasing pressure. She drew attention to the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and other conflicts around the world, where the use of force is still a means to an end, a means to shift the borders of sovereign states and an attempt to subjugate nations. She condemned any interference in the lives of fellow human beings, their suffering and torture, their humiliation, and sexual violence against them, which we see in the fields of war. "NATO's commitment to defend those countries that uphold these values is enshrined in several provisions of the Washington Treaty. It is therefore only right to be a member of this international organisation and to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of our membership today," she emphasised.

On the occasion of the anniversary, the Slovenian President expressed her gratitude to all the deserving individuals in professional and political life who had paved the way for Slovenia's membership of NATO. She also paid tribute to those who, through their work, uphold Slovenia's reputation and ensure its effective functioning in the Alliance, while promoting common and national security interests. Special recognition was also given to the members of the Slovenian Armed Forces.

The obligations of NATO members are set out in the Washington Treaty, which states that members will separately and jointly maintain and develop their own defence forces as the basis for collective defence. Member States are bound to abide by commonly agreed principles and policies and procedures for their implementation, including respect for the principle of peaceful settlement of all neighbourhood and international disputes in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.