Ahead of the announcement of the border dispute arbitration decision, tensions between the two countries are growing.
Slovenian Agriculture Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Dejan Židan said that the European Union wanted arbitration proceedings to finally resolve the longstanding border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia, taking into account not only that dispute but also similar unresolved issues in the Balkans, reports Index.hr on June 22, 2017.
In an interview for Slovenian Television, Židan said he thought that the Croatian government was aware that it would have to accept the verdict of the arbitrators, but that it was saying the opposite due to “internal political” reasons.
Although the current European Commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker, according to Židan, had been acting “more politically” than the previous one, which was reflected in Brussels’ reaction to the Slovenian-Croatian dispute over the Terrano wine, Židan said he had a positive feeling regarding the border dispute and the results of the arbitration proceedings.
He believes that the European Union will demand that the arbitration decision must be respected and enforced because it is “the only mechanism” for resolving such disputes in the EU. Židan, therefore, expects that the EU will try to conclude the Slovenian-Croatian dispute, in order for it to become a “success story” which will be an example and an incentive for resolving similar disputes in Europe, especially in the unstable ”Western Balkans” region. Židan added that the situation in the volatile region was becoming more dramatic and that he expected the EU to launch a united and decisive action.
According to Židan, signs for a positive solution to the Slovenian-Croatian dispute can be read from recent messages from all political party leaders in Germany, including from Chancellor Angela Merkel, that the EU should in the future, due to US President Donald Trump’s policies, rely more on itself, achieve greater unity, and deal with internal disputes more quickly.
In recent days, all prominent Slovenian officials, politicians, and party leaders have given statements emphasising that Croatia, in spite of the Parliament’s decision two years ago that the arbitration proceedings are to be abandoned and that it is a bilateral dispute that needs to be resolved through dialogue, should change its position on the arbitration and acknowledge the verdict.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has reiterated the familiar position that the arbitration process had been irreversibly contaminated and compromised by the Slovenian actions and that the decision of the arbitral tribunal will not be binding for Croatia.
The decision is expected to be announced next Thursday.