A new point of contention between the two countries.
Slovenia will send a protest note to Croatia due to expansion of a mussel farm owned by a private entrepreneur from Istria towards the Slovenian coast in the Bay of Piran, announced on Friday at a press conference Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, who took the opportunity to comment on relations with Croatia in general, reports Index.hr on April 14, 2017.
“Croatian activities in the Piran Bay are unnecessary and irresponsible. Croatia is not showing good will to resolve outstanding issues and we therefore express our regret,” said Erjavec.
The Slovenian media reported in recent days that the mussel farm, which has been in the bay since 1988, was illegally extended towards the Slovenian coast and that in the last few years it was done several times, most recently in February this year, when Ljubljana sent an official protest stating that such action violated the arbitration agreement on the settlement of the outstanding border issues. “Slovenia always responds to such situations with a diplomatic note, which we will do this time as well, and we will talk with legal professionals as well,” said Erjavec.
“This time, the expansion of the mussel farm has been approved by the Croatian government, which shows that it still does not understand that the arbitration agreement is in force,” said the head of Slovenian diplomacy.
He reiterated the view which Slovenia has consistently argued after Croatia withdrew from arbitration proceedings because they were compromised by Slovenian officials and announced that it was ready to negotiate with Slovenia on the outstanding bilateral issues, which Ljubljana for now does not accept. On the other hand, Slovenia insists on the validity of the arbitration proceedings, adding that both sides are obliged to accept the verdict of arbitrators, which Slovenia expects later this year.
“These incidents are unnecessary, but they do prove that the border issue should be resolved. Otherwise, the tensions will continue,” said Erjavec, adding that the decision of the arbitrators on the border is expected this year and that Croatia should accept it.
The behaviour of the Croatian side concerning the Piran Bay does not demonstrate a will and readiness to address other issues, such as Agrokor, Mercator, the Krško nuclear power plant and others, said Erjavec.
Talking about strict controls introduced on the Slovenian-Croatian border and large traffic jams created by the new Schengen regime, Erjavec said that it was in Slovenia’s interest to stay in the Schengen area, which is its primary objective. “We have to respect the regulations on the systematic control of all passengers leaving or entering the Schengen area, but it would be good for us, together with the European Commission, to find an appropriate solution for the long lines,” said the Slovenian Foreign Minister.