18:04 / 28.03.2023.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Croatian and Slovenian prime ministers address the fight against illegal migration

Prime Ministers Robert Golob and Andrej Plenković

Prime Ministers Robert Golob and Andrej Plenković

Foto: Jurica Galoic / PIXSELL

The Croatian and Slovenian prime ministers met in Bled Slovenia on Tuesday, where they addressed cooperation in the energy sector and the fight against illegal migration, furthering economic cooperation and the situation in the Western Balkans.

And while bilateral relations between the two countries have improved somewhat over the past year, there are still a number of unresolved issues between the two countries, including the demarcation of their shared border. Slovenia disputes the internationally recognized border between the two countries as determined by the Badinter Commission, which is an extension of their respective borders when they were republics within the former Yugoslavia. This resulted in Slovenia blocking Croatia's accession to the European Union, and later arbitration. However, Slovenia was caught on tape colluding behind the scenes to ensure the arbitration panel reach for it a favourable decision. At this point, Croatia withdrew from the arbitration and declared it irrevocably tainted. As expected the arbitration's ruling, albeit without the participation of the Croatian side and without any serious redress of Slovenia's transgression of the arbitration's fundamental principles. None-the-less Slovenia has consistently tried to unilaterally enforce the arbitration's ruling, repeatedly sending its patrol boats into Croatian territorial waters and handing out fines to Croatian fishermen.

The issue was not discussed on Tuesday, as in site of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's readiness to do so, Prime Minister Robert Golob refused to address the subject. Here's what Plenković had to say about Croatia's view of Slovenia's claims to Croatian territory and the problems it has caused for Croatian fishermen: “We have suggested a pragmatic gentlemanly approach to resolving the issue of fishermen, both Croatian and Slovenia, that would relieve them of the various fines they have been confronted with in recent years, albeit for now unenforced. And we feel that this would be a good signal in the right direction for the resolving of this issue, which, at the end of the day, do somewhat burden our bilateral relations.”

Croatia's claims are based on Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that: 'Where the coasts of two States are opposite or adjacent to each other, neither of the two States is entitled, failing agreement between them to the contrary, to extend its territorial sea beyond the median line. As pertaining to this article, the border demarcation is as delineated during the former Yugoslavia and subsequently confirmed by the Badinter Commission. For its part, Slovenia's claim is based on the second sentence of Article 15, which states that the provision does not apply where it is necessary by reason of historic title or other special circumstances to delimit the territorial seas of the two States in a way which is quote: "at variance therewith."

Source: HRT

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