Slovenian Presidential Candidates on Relations with Croatia

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In less than two weeks, Slovenians will vote for a new president.

The arbitration decision on the border dispute with Croatia needs to be implemented, but it is necessary to cooperate with the European Union and Croatia, said Borut Pahor, the current Slovenian president and the main favourite at the presidential elections which will take place in less than two weeks. In a written statement for the Slovenian Press Agency (STA), Pahor said that the two states, by signing the arbitration agreement in 2009, solved their longstanding dispute in a peaceful manner and that Slovenia will endeavour to implement the arbitration decision in the same way, reports Jutarnji List on October 9, 2017.

“This is only possible in a dialogue with Croatia and with a clear expectation that the EU will support the position that it should happen within a reasonable timeframe,” Pahor said, stating that the role of the EU was “extraordinary” in 2009 when he, as the Slovenian Prime Minister, concluded the arbitration agreement with Croatia.

“Slovenia and Croatia are now together in the EU, which enables them to find a way to implement the judgment of the arbitration tribunal because the joint membership makes it easier to find adequate solutions for the lives of people on both sides of the border,” Pahor said.

The issue of Croatian-Slovenian border dispute has been prominent in the campaign for the Slovenian presidential election. In this context, the current president advocated that cooperation and dialogue should be used to find a solution with Croatia, assuming that the decision should be implemented in a peaceful manner so that Slovenia would not lose the diplomatic support of some of the leading members of the European Union.

In previous debates on the issue of arbitration, Pahor’s leading opponent, Marjan Šarec, the Mayor of Kamnik, criticised different statements given by Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec about the possible unilateral implementation of the arbitration decision. “We will not do anything by using force. We need the instruments of the law and diplomacy that must be more important than the uncoordinated conduct of daily policies,” said Šarec, who also criticised frequent meetings between Pahor and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, saying that they will not solve anything. “It should be said clearly to Croatia that the only possibility is for the implementation to take place. There is no need for diplomatic hugs,” said Pahor’s opponent.

The third-place candidate in polls is Slovenian Member of European Parliament Romana Tomc, who was nominated by the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS). In TV debates, she underlined that it was an illusion by the Cerar government to think it could implement the arbitration decision unilaterally, without cooperation with Croatia. According to her, the decision is by no means a cause for celebration, because Slovenia “has lost part of the Slovenian territory” and did not gain territorial access to international waters. She thinks that the whole arbitration process was a “big mistake” by the Slovenian politics at a time when Pahor was the prime minister, and they should not rush with the implementation.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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