Border: Italy-Slovenia

Date(s) of establishment: 1954; Slovene independence in 1991
Length of border: 232 km
Regions concerned: Italie – Friuli-Venezia Giulia; Slovenia – Goriška, Obalno-Kraška et Gorenjska (Statistical regions – currently no regional level of administration in Slovenia)

European programme(s):

Stretching over 232 km, the Italian-Slovenian border begins in the north at the tripoint formed by the Austro-Italian and Austro-Slovenian borders. It then turns southwards and ends to the south of Trieste, in a village near the Adriatic Sea. The Bay of Muggia, where the border ends, belongs entirely to Italy. The proximity to the sea has also led to a meticulous division of the waters between the two countries.

Stabilised in 1954, the border between Italy and Slovenia was initially subject to many modifications.

The first demarcation was set after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and located in the very east, it led to an Italian policy of assimilation of over 350,000 Slovenes. This minority was severely oppressed under Mussolini, who took measures against them and organised the deportation of many members of the Slovene resistance.

Thereafter, the border was partially drawn in 1947 with the Treaty of Paris. The demarcation was confirmed in 1954 with the division of the Free Territory of Trieste, the region having been confiscated from Italy after World War II. In accordance with the principle of "ethnic balance", the Val Canale and Slavia Veneta were attributed to Italy.

In 1991, Slovenia gained its independence from Yugoslavia, the demarcation remains unchanged.

Cross-border cooperation:
Due to the presence of minorities on either side of the border, the Slovenian and Italian languages each have co-official status in the neighbouring country. In addition, the majority of Italians and Slovenes living in the border region speak the language of the neighbouring country. This presence of minorities in both countries has helped to foster the development of cross-border cooperation.

The cross-border region is a place of significant exchanges: it is a developing common labour market area, and is also marked by flows of Slovenes seeking luxury goods and Italians in search of products at lower costs in the neighbouring country.

Enlargement of the European Union has provided a new role for these previously marginalised border regions, now becoming a cross-border region at the centre of Europe. For this reason, the European cooperation programme devoted to this area aims to strengthen the attractiveness and competitiveness.

This cooperation takes the form of concrete projects, including the establishment of five networks of cross-border workers, contributing to the creation of a dynamic employment base. The economy is a very large component of this cross-border cooperation: the capitalisation of experiences and the development of a knowledge society are the objectives.
Regional development also requires an improvement of transport networks to structure the urban areas and thus boost border areas.

Social integration is another priority of the programme. Minorities and residents of the border area expect public services, social and cultural services which could be developed jointly to improve their daily lives..

Several structures implanted in the region embody this cooperation at multiple levels: the  "Alps-Adriatic Working Community" founded in 1977, aims to foster homogeneity of the labour market areas of the region, and the "Istria Euroregion" concentrates more on the promotion of cultural issues, such as bilingualism and multiculturalism.

Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Communauté de travail Alpe-Adria
Projet d'Eurorégion Istria

Cross-border cooperation at the local level

Gorizia-Nova Gorica