Open issues with Croatia will be one of the topic of meetings between EC president Juncker and Slovenian leaders.
Contentious issues in relations with Croatia, in particular the arbitration on the border dispute, are high on the list of priority issues for Slovenian officials for their forthcoming meetings with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who will visit Slovenia on Thursday and Friday, reports tportal.hr on February 27, 2017.
The official reason for Juncker’s visit to Ljubljana are talks with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and other top Slovenian officials about the future of the European Union, Brexit and other issues. However, Prime Minister Cerar, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and other officials will also talk with Juncker about the topic of relations with Croatia and position of the European Commission towards controversial bilateral issues between the two states, reported the Slovenian media, quoting unnamed sources in Slovenian government.
In particular, they will discuss with Juncker the issue of “respecting and implementing” future verdict of the arbitration tribunal on the border dispute, given “the problems created by the Croatian side which has withdrawn from the arbitration proceedings”, reported the media.
Slovenian side reportedly expects from Juncker to repeat the position of the European Commission that it supports the work of arbitrators, since the arbitrational tribunal was established under its auspices before Croatian accession to the EU and could also serve as a model for resolving disputes in the Balkans. The decision by arbitrators is expected in a few months.
Relations between Slovenia and the European Commission are reportedly not idyllic, given that, in the opinion of Slovenian officials, the Commission has supported the Croatian side in the dispute over the Terrano wine, since it decided to allow Croatian winemakers from Istria to use the name, although Slovenia earlier protected its geographical origin. Slovenia believes that the decision was made in a non-transparent manner and that the officials in Brussels have decided to support Croatian winemakers at the expense of their Slovenian colleagues.
Juncker said in an interview with several correspondents from Croatian and Slovenian media in Brussels early last week – announcing his visit to Ljubljana – that he would not discuss the Slovenian wine issue and that the main goal of his visit to Ljubljana was to find out what the Slovenian government thinks about the future of the European Union. During his visit, Juncker will be accompanied by European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.
According to the Slovenian media, Slovenian officials will present Juncker with their views on the current state of migration issues which threaten Europe and the complications that the migration have caused for the Schengen Area, given that, due to possible terrorist threats, some EU states have introduced temporary measures to control the borders. One of those countries is Austria, which has had adverse economic consequences for Slovenia.
Juncker will talk with his Slovenian hosts about their opinion on the question of the so called “multi-speed Europe”, given the efforts of Slovenia to, in the event that this occurs, remain in the “central core” of countries which are already part of the Schengen Area and the European Monetary Union.