ZAGREB, April 11, 2018 – Croatia will send by April 17 its response to Slovenia’s letter to the European Commission in which it proposed that a suit be filed against Croatia for non-compliance with the arbitration ruling on the border dispute, after which it will orally present its stance to the European Commission on May 2, the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) told Hina on Wednesday.
“In its written and oral submissions, Croatia will respond to Slovenia’s allegations and present its stance that it is not violating European Union law (by not accepting and implementing the arbitration decision that resulted from the arbitration proceeding that Slovenia had compromised),” the MVEP said in response to Hina’s enquiry.
The European Commission called on Croatia to submit a written opinion by April 17 on Slovenia’s letter asking the Commission for its opinion on whether Croatia was in breach of European and international law and announcing a suit at the European Court of Justice against Croatia unless the decision was implemented. The EC has proposed May 2 for the oral hearing on Slovenia’s motion.
“Slovenia has launched the procedure before the European Commission… The procedure lasts three months and both sides need to exchange written submissions and hold an oral hearing at the European Commission,” the MVEP said.
At the end of the procedure, the EC can give its opinion of the alleged breach of EU law (rationale of its opinion), but it doesn’t have to. Regardless of whether the EC will or won’t do so, Slovenia can sue Croatia after those three months, the ministry explained.
Croatia’s foreign minister Marija Pejčinović Burić stated earlier that the border issue with Slovenia was not subject to EU law and that Slovenia had no grounds for instigating legal proceedings against Croatia. “We once again invite Slovenia to dialogue because we think the issue can be solved through dialogue,” she said.