Discuss in touch with that of Western Europe

Discuss the effects of more normal economic and political relations between eastern and western halves of Europe since 1989 on Slovenia. 1989 marked a turning point in European history. The subsequent fall of the Berlin Wall echoed throughout Europe and the suspicion which had fuelled the cold-war began to subside. The Iron Curtain was drawn back, allowing for East and West Europe to regain interaction and return to some level of normality. The effects of this were widespread. Communism was effectively finished as a functioning regime, with it went the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

However this period proved exceptionally prosperous for parties on the political stage. The newly opened communications and trade routes with the west allowed for economic and political development of some eastern states, especially to those in close proximities with the dividing line. Few countries used this time to enhance themselves more effectively than Slovenia. Spurred by its close geographical reaches to the west, the country that had previously been labelled the ‘smallest and wealthiest component of Yugoslavia’ (Davis N. , 1997) began work on becoming an independent European state.

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Current day Slovenia looks in the strongest position to join the E. U. of any former socialist state. The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have both stressed that Slovenia has reached the ‘development of Western states’ (2001). The Slovene tax system is also becoming increasing in touch with that of Western Europe (Government of the Republic of Slovenia, 2003). But the similarities with Western Europe stretch further than just economics. The parallels can also be found mirrored in society as well. The social make-up of Slovenia shows signs of maturity and affluence often characterised with Western Europe.

For example Slovenia has a typically western European demographic trend; the population has started to decline, and a traditionally high level of literacy of 99. 6% and live births. Not to mention a political system that is also closely reminiscent of a western state. Certainly for Slovenia the end of the Cold War was a catalyst for this development, and strives to become a member of the E. U. are blatantly apparent. But how did the re-establishment of more normal economic and political relations during the late 1980’s early 1990’s help this?

If the effects of 1989 are broken down into categories, then the importance of the political section can not be overstated. Obviously this holds true for all countries in Europe, but those on the west side of the divide felt the vibrations deeper than most. For Slovenia the timing was impeccable. As a nation the Slovenes had been contained within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since the mid 1940’s, under which it had flourished. The end of the Cold War and resultant death of the communist blocks allowed Slovenia independence. Although desirable, this had been an unrealistic demand while the state had been under Yugoslav control.

However attempts had been made. So on the 25th of June 1991 Slovenia was declared a sovereign state. This is was hugely significant moment in Slovene history, and was only made possible so early due to the disintegration of Yugoslavia (Fink-Hafner, 1997) achieved largely by the west. Therefore the states very independent existence relied on the returning of normal political and economic relations. This is obviously the most profound effect of the return to normality as it allowed Slovenia the very foundation on which to build. This of course, is independence.


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