Slovenia has only one tier of sub-national government, i.e. municipalities. Currently, there are 212 municipalities. This means that there are no other tiers of government, like counties, regions etc. Some other forms of regional segmentation exist (voting, police, financial, statistical districts), but not in the form of sub-national government.
Local government prevails
According to the Local Self-Government Act (2007), municipalities perform local matters of public interest in order to meet the needs of their citizens. Specifically, municipalities manage the municipal assets and organise municipal administration, develop conditions for the economic development of the municipality, provide spatial development plans and create conditions for housing, manage and regulate local public utilities and local public services provision, provide social services, and organise local road maintenance, and fire safety etc.
Centralisation on the run
The administrative reforms in the 1990s and 2000s also involved pressures to create an intermediate tier of government, the so-called regions. The reforms began in June 2006, when the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia was amended, in order to enable the transfer of responsibilities from the central government to the second tier of sub-national government, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. The main issue under consideration was that of fulfilling the existing gap between the central government and the very fragmented local level of government, where very small municipalities prevailed.
When Slovenia entered into the economic downturn in 2009, and when this downturn contributed to the mounting fiscal problems of the country, it became evident that the imposed cutback measures pushed for additional centralisation, rather than decentralisation of the country. In essence, since 2010, the debates on the possible introduction of the regions in Slovenia practically do not exist anymore. Similarly, the political process related to this issue has been stopped almost entirely.
New regional developments
Slovenia is a rather small country, which might limit the necessity to create an intermediate level of government. The historical evidence indicates that regions and regional affiliation existed and prevailed until the early 20th century, when the unification of the territory was established. The presented evidence suggests that pressures and initiatives to introduce regions existed recently, but this top-down approach was unsuccessful. The result is that there are no regions in Slovenia yet. However, although mainly political and technical considerations prevented the introduction of regions in the previous decade, it seems that the economic downturn reversed the process during the last few years.
Nevertheless, some kind of bottom-up initiatives started to emerge recently that might in the future lead to the potential introduction of regions in the future, although the final outcome of these initiatives is hard to predict. These initiatives are concentrated mostly on boosting the joint municipal provision of certain administrative services, and measures are placed that involve cost subsidisations for this kind of service provision. Interestingly, this form of cooperation has increased rapidly in recent years, both in volume as well as in the number of municipalities involved.
by Primož PEVCIN
The Report on the state of Regionalisation in Europe.
More than 40 experts contributed to this work, by delivering detailed reports about the state of regionalisation and multilevel governance in chosen European countries. The study covers 41 countries, and each country report is based on a similar structure, thereby allowing a comparative approach among all studied countries.
- The first part of the report gives the political impetus from the main European stakeholders
- The second part of this report entails a summarised version of the country reports. The objective is to provide interested readers with a short overview of the main features of regionalisation in various European countries. The complete versions of the country reports are available on the AER website, under LINK
- The third part provides a thematic approach based on the main findings delivered by the country reports and the current state of regionalisation in Europe. The trends and outlooks lead to open questions on the future of the regions in the European landscape, and more broadly on the role of subnational authorities in the shaping of the continent.
- The fourth part gives the floor to the actual regional decision-makers in Europe, across a series of interviews and statements by Presidents, Vice-Presidents and elected representatives of the European regions.
Over the next months, we will be focusing on a different European country’s approach to regionalisation. During these months, look out for #RoR2017 on Twitterand/or Facebook and follow us at @europeanregions.
Strong European regions are a pathway to a stronger Europe.