EU to mediate border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia

  • Giada Negri
  • 12.1.2018 10:33

On 8 January, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed the EU to mediate the Croatia-Slovenia border dispute as the deadlock could hamper EU enlargement in the Balkans. While conciliation between the two countries could be reached through informal concessions, future enlargement talks will have to solve border contentions before accession. The Commission has already urged dialogue. 

Both countries have claims over the northern Piran Bay and the surrounding land which would constitute Slovenia’s only access to international waters. The issue had blocked Croatia’s accession to the EU until 2013 when the country agreed to a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration. This was anticipated to be a positive example for other territorial controversies in the region, which threaten to fuel nationalism, and act as a stimulus for the renewed European effort in the Western Balkans. However, Croatia decided to withdraw from the process due to unofficial contacts between Slovenian representatives and an arbitration judge. In June 2017, the arbitration determined that Slovenia should have access to international waters through a corridor in Croatian waters but Croatia has refused to abide by the decision. In December, Slovenia started enforcing the border unilaterally. 

About author: Giada Negri

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