Croatia’s immediate neighbours to the north are determined to get their way.
As Sandra Veljkovic/VL/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of August, 2018, the European Court in which Slovenia initiated proceedings against the Republic of Croatia on the grounds of Croatia’s refusal to accept the arbitration decision on the border has begun to form a judicial council to deal with the lawsuit, as has been made known from diplomatic sources from both Brussels and Luxembourg.
According to them, Slovenia, more specifically its representatives from the ministries of justice and foreign affairs, in conversations with various persons from the court, were able to identify the names of three or four possible judges and immediately started contacting them and lobbying for their desired outcome(s).
The date for commencement of the proceedings in Luxembourg has not yet been determined, preparatory actions are only just being carried out, but once the proceedings are initiated, the typically five-member panel of judges will decide whether or not Croatia has indeed violated European law. The European Court, one of the institutions of the Court of Justice of the European Union, is composed of one judge from each member state and eleven independent attorneys.
The trial panel usually consists of three or five judges in individual cases. If such a request arises, an independent lawyer may offer his or her opinion on a particular case, but whatever they do state remains non-binding. The Slovenian lawsuit was filed by the technical government of the outgoing Prime Minister Miro Cerar after attempts to reach an agreement between the two states, as well as the adoption of border protocols and various other technical points, failed back in December.
Croatia continues to insist on an agreement between the two neighbouring countries, a solution also favoured by the Arbitration agreement itself, which Slovenia still so staunchly supports. Such is the message of the European Commission, which has refused to support the Slovenian lawsuit against Croatia.