EU Court to Announce Whether It Has Jurisdiction over Slovenia-Croatia Border Dispute

By 24 January 2020

ZAGREB, January 24, 2020 - The Court of Justice of the European Union will announce on January 31 whether it has jurisdiction to rule on a Slovenian case against Croatia over alleged infringements of European law resulting from Croatia's failure to implement a border arbitration ruling, the Luxembourg-based court said on Friday.

The Court's Advocate General Priit Pikamae of Estonia issued his opinion in mid-December saying that the Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. His opinion, however, is not binding and it is difficult to predict the Court's judgment. The practice to date shows that in cases before the Grand Chamber, as is the case with Slovenia's action against Croatia, the Court has followed the advocate general's opinion in about 50% of the cases.

Slovenia brought the action against Croatia under Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, moving that the Court of Justice establish that Croatia is in breach of Articles 2 and 4 of the Treaty which relate to respect for the rule of law and loyal cooperation between member states. Slovenia also submits that Croatia is in breach of the regulation on the common fisheries policy, border control and maritime spatial planning.

Croatia, on the other hand, argues that the Court of Justice has no jurisdiction to rule in the present case given that it is not really about the application and interpretation of EU law. According to Croatia, the dispute in this case refers to the interpretation and application of international law and therefore it should be resolved by applying international law and by means envisaged for the peaceful resolution of disputes, including negotiations.

If the Court rules that the case does not fall within its jurisdiction, the case is automatically terminated. If it declares that it has jurisdiction, or partial jurisdiction, a hearing on the substance of the action will be held, after which the Court will hand down its ruling.

More news about the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia can be found in the Politics section.