The Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union or SKGZ was founded in 1954 in Trieste and in Gorizia the following year. The Union was established after the signing of the Memorandum of London, which affirmed the permanent annexation of Zone A of the territory of Trieste to Italy. Our organization was founded with the aim to serve as a connecting and strengthening element of the Slovenes living in Italy in the fields of culture, economy and civil society in general. Four years later, in 1958, the two unions of Trieste and Gorizia joined into a single organization. In the following years the Slovenes living in the province of Udine continued to gradually enhance their cultural activities. In the school year 1984-85, SKGZ promoted the establishment of a private bilingual kindergarten in San Pietro al Natisone and in the school year 1986-87 it contributed to the foundation of a bilingual private school. Both institutions at least partially guaranteed access to education in Slovenian language.
In its history SKGZ has promoted hundreds of initiatives at local, regional and national level in order not only guarantee the right to use the Slovenian language, but also other rights in the fields of culture, economy, school, sports, media etc. In particular, the organization has always opposed to arbitrary interventions in the historical territory of the Slovenian community in the three above mentioned provinces. SKGZ has always been committed to the fact that local and regional institutions considered the presence of the Slovenes as a group of particular interest, protected by the Constitution and other international treaties. For many decades the main aim of the organization was the approval of the Protection Law of the Slovenian community.
In 1972 the union collected all the requests in a single document. In addition to the bills submitted to the Parliament by various Italian political parties during the 1970 s, this represented a key step in the long path towards the adoption of the Protection Law of the Slovenian community, which was approved by the Italian Parliament in 2001. In the 30 years between the submission of the first proposals and the approval of the Law, SKGZ continued, both independently and in association with the political components of the Slovenes in Italy, to carry out lobbying initiatives in Rome, Ljubljana and within European institutions. However, the approval of the law was not an arrival point, since soon after its approval the issue of its enforcement, which is still a major concern for SKGZ.
Until the two-step elimination of the border between Italy and Slovenia was completed in 2004 and 2007, SKGZ directed its efforts also in this direction. In order to achieve this result the organization promoted various forms of cross-border cooperation in the fields of culture, economy, sports and others. Since its foundation, SKGZ has always pursued the development of border areas and with a number of initiatives contributed to the creation of peaceful coexistence with the majority population and the promotion of an effective cooperation between Italy and Slovenia, in the belief that good neighborly relations represent the foundation of the economic and cultural development and therefore of a promising future for the entire Northern Adriatic area.