Slovenia: Talks with Croatia Possible Only on Implementation of Border Arbitration Ruling

By 3 February 2020

ZAGREB, February 3, 2020 - Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said on Sunday that talks on the border issue with Croatia were possible but that they could only be about ways to implement the border arbitration award which Ljubljana considers binding, and that dialogue could be started by Presidents Borut Pahor and Zoran Milanović.

"Talks are necessary. They are possible but they could only be about the arbitration award, that is, ways to implement it," Cerar said in an interview with Slovenian Television.

Dialogue could start between Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Croatian President-elect Zoran Milanović after Milanović takes office, since the Slovenian government resigned last Monday and now operates only as a caretaker government.

Cerar dismissed criticism in Slovenia that he was responsible for Slovenia losing a case against Croatia before the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg.

Cerar said Slovenia had sued Croatia in 2018, at the end of the term of a government that was led by him, but the lawsuit was supported by all parties making up the then ruling coalition and a large portion of parliamentary parties.

He said the lawsuit was worth the effort even though the Luxembourg-based court said it did not have jurisdiction over it.

Cerar said the lawsuit was worth the effort also because of the media statement the EU court published last Friday before publishing the integral version of its ruling. That statement, even though a sentence with the same wording was not included in the ruling itself, says that Croatia and Slovenia must implement the border arbitration ruling and that the border between them is defined, claims Cerar.

The government in Zagreb, however, has dismissed Cerar's claims as factually incorrect because Slovenian media cited only a part of the court statement.

Asked whether early parliamentary elections were possible after Prime Minister Marjan Šarec's resignation last week or a new parliamentary majority would be formed, Cerar said both options were possible.

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