Slovenia Preparing for Arbitration Ruling on Border with Croatia

Total Croatia News

Despite Croatia’s decision to withdraw from arbitration proceedings, Slovenia prepares for the verdict.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said on Tuesday that Slovenia was committed to good bilateral relations with neighbouring countries, and stressed that Slovenia and Croatia should avoid any statements which would harm their relations in anticipation of the decision of the arbitration tribunal on their border dispute, reports Večernji List on January 3, 2017.

Slovenia expects that the arbitrators will this year issue a verdict on the border dispute with Croatia, for which Slovenia must be well-prepared and, in the meantime, it should avoid any statements which could undermine good bilateral relations, warned the Minister.

The strategy which the Slovenian government should adopt in anticipation of the arbitration results will show whether Slovenia can count on a peaceful settlement of this issue, in order to be able to devote itself to other domestic and international ambitions, said Pahor. According to the Slovenian President, Slovenia should strive to prevent relations with Croatia from getting worse because the implementation of the arbitrators’ decision will be in itself “a very challenging project”.

If Slovenia does not succeed in such a strategy, then the situation which existed during the Slovenian blockade of the Croatian accession negotiations with the EU could be repeated, which would mean that Slovenian politics would be overwhelmed and paralyzed with the issue, which must be avoided, said the Slovenian President. “It is imperative that we prepare ourselves, Croats, the European Union, but also the entire international community, for the situation in which we will find ourselves after the arbitration tribunal announces its verdict”, said Pahor.

Foreign Minister Erjavec said that Slovenia wanted to have good relations with neighbouring countries. “Our relations with Italy, Austria and Hungary are strengthening, while in the case of Croatia we cannot talk about any significant progress”, said the head of the Slovenian diplomacy. “The expected verdict of the arbitration court of the border dispute will be a great challenge and I hope that we will successfully overcome it in order to once and for all settle the dispute which has burdened our relations”, said Erjavec.

Government led by current Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar believes that the arbitration process on the border dispute started in 2009 before Croatian accession to the EU should continue, while on the other hand Croatia left the arbitration proceedings two years ago, after a unanimous decision adopted by Parliament on the proposal of then Prime Minister Zoran Milanović.

At their first meeting in Ljubljana in December last year, Croatian and Slovenian foreign ministers Davor Ivo Stier and Karl Erjavec confirmed that there was no progress in this regard. Croatia’s position is that arbitration proceedings were irreversibly compromised after it was discovered that Slovenian officials were in communication with arbitrators, while Slovenia expects that the arbitrators will issue a verdict on the land and sea border between Croatia and Slovenia.

The main question is what will happen if the arbitrators reach a decision in favour of Slovenia, and Croatia decides not to accept it since it has withdrawn from the proceedings.


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