Slovenia Threatening Lawsuit against Croatia over Border Arbitration

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Tensions are rising ahead of tomorrow’s border arbitration decision announcement.

Tensions in Slovenia are rising ahead of the announcement of the decision by the arbitrators in The Hague, which will take place on Thursday. The arbitrators will announce their decision in the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, although Croatia left the arbitration proceedings two years ago and said it would not accept the findings, reports on June 28, 2017.

The highest Slovenian officials have described the verdict as a historic and crucial day for Slovenia. They expect that arbitration will give Slovenia contact with international waters.

“The announcement of the arbitration decision will be the third pivotal moment in the life of our young country, the first being when Slovenia became independent 26 years ago, and second when it entered the EU and NATO in 2004. The third milestone will occur tomorrow when our final frontier with Croatia is determined,” said Milan Brglez, Speaker of Slovenian Parliament. “I urge our citizens not to believe possible spins and false news that will spread,” said Brglez, warning that they should only trust the official announcements of the arbitral tribunal, the Slovenian government and the Parliament.

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said recently that the verdict would be “a historic event” for both countries in the dispute, but also “D-Day” for Slovenia. He will attend a special session of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee tomorrow, together with all other political and party leaders.

For days now, public broadcasters and media close to the government have been publishing and broadcasting features and articles which show that Slovenia is right in the dispute and that the decision made by the arbitrators will be fair.

Former Transport Minister Marko Pavliha said that Slovenia could file a lawsuit against Croatia if it refuses to accept the decision. He told Slovenian Radio that he did not expect incidents with the implementation of the decision, saying that in the first days following the verdict Slovenia must act in a restrained manner, using diplomatic means. But, if Croatia continues to reject any idea of ​​accepting the decision, then Slovenia would have to think about filing a lawsuit against Croatia before the European Union Court in Luxembourg, says Pavliha.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec will attend the announcement of the verdict in The Hague as a representative of the Slovenian government. He is personally very interested in the decision since the opposition failed to force him to resign two years ago when secret recordings of his diplomat Simona Drenik and Slovenian arbitrator Jernej Sekolec were published. They discussed, among other things, the strategy of how to influence the judges and how to illegally add documents to the court file. These recordings were the reason why Croatia left the arbitration proceedings.

The opposition said two years ago that Erjavec was responsible for the scandal and for endangering the arbitration process. Also, the media have accused him of giving too optimistic statements during the arbitration process and sending wrong signals to the public.

Among ordinary Slovenian citizens, there is not much excitement about “the historic day”, perhaps because many people are on holidays which many of them are spending in Croatia, just like in previous years.


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