Slovenia Hopes Merkel and Macron Will Pressure Croatia

Total Croatia News

The arbitration tribunal dispute continues.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec expects that Wednesday will be a major day for the implementation of the arbitral tribunal’s decision on the border between Slovenia and Croatia, not so much because of a meeting between the two prime ministers in Ljubljana, but because of a conference of the Berlin Initiative in Trieste, reports on 8 July 2017.

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and presidents of all the countries from this region will be in Trieste. Believe me, they will not be able to avoid the issue of the implementation of the arbitration decision,” said Erjavec on Saturday.

The Berlin initiative has been launched by Germany to help Western Balkan states enter the European Union. But, the Slovenian Foreign Minister intends to highlight the issue of the unresolved border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia. “We cannot talk about a stable Western Balkans if two EU member states, Croatia and Slovenia, have such an important unresolved issue,” he said.

Erjavec is confident that Croatia will gradually soften its currently firm position on the arbitral tribunal and the arbitration process, which it left two years ago saying that the process has been contaminated.

According to Erjavec, the ruling issued by arbitrators ten days ago is fair and balanced, but it could be corrected in the implementation process, in agreement with Croatia, in places where Slovenians are left “on the Croatian side” and where the new border line does not follow rivers or repeatedly crosses railway tracks.

He believes that Slovenian diplomacy has to act cautiously and tactically, but at the same time patiently, because he expects that Croatia’s views on the arbitration decision will gradually soften, perhaps as early as this summer, with the support of the international community for Slovenia’s position.

“I am surprised why is the Bay of Piran so problematic for Croatia and why it does not allow Slovenia to have contact with the open sea. When I explain this to my colleagues in Europe and the world, their first reaction is always: why is this so problematic when Croatia has so much sea and bays,” said Erjavec.

Erjavec does not expect much from the meeting between Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who will start a dialogue on open issues at their first official meeting in Ljubljana. “I do not expect any breakthroughs, nothing major. It will be the first meeting between two prime ministers and their exchange of views after the arbitrators have made their verdict,” Erjavec said.


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