Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Pahor Doesn't Think Milanović Will Change His Opinion on Border Arbitration

ZAGREB, January 7, 2020 - Slovenian President Borut Pahor said on Monday that he did not believe that Croatia's president-elect Zoran Milanović would change his opinion on the arbitration ruling on the two countries' border dispute, however, Pahor, promises to "give chance to dialogue" at the start of their relations as two presidents.

Pahor told reporters in Ljubljana that he had telephoned the newly-elected Croatian president to congratulate him on winning the election on Sunday, and also added that he accepted the invitation to attend Milanović's inauguration in Zagreb in a few weeks' time.

While Milanović served as Croatia's prime minister in 2015, Zagreb decided to withdraw from the arbitration process due to the behaviour of Slovenia's representatives that contaminated those proceeding.

However, Pahor said that the relations with Milanović as soon as he steps into office as the Croatian president should start "with open arms."

Pahor told the press in Ljubljana that he was glad to hear from Milanović that one of his priorities would be to improve the bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Nevertheless, Pahor does not believe that Milanović, whom he knows for 15 years, will change his mind on the arbitration award only because he is now the president.

Pahor also said that Slovenia would be a friend dedicated to dialogue in seeking a solution, however, he reiterated Slovenia's position on insisting on the implementation of the arbitration award on demarcation of the border between the two countries.

We should seek through dialogue a model for a consensual demarcation in accordance with the arbitration ruling and thus close the last difficult issue stemming from the breakup of the former (federal) state, Pahor said.

Also, the leader of the Slovenian Social Democrats (SD), Dejan Židan, who is the parliament speaker in Ljubljana, extended his congratulations to Milanović on the election win.

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

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Croatian Politics 2019: A Year in Review

What follows is a review of events in Croatian politics in 2019, as reported by TCN. If you would like to refresh your memory about the events which has led us here, read the reviews for the three previous years (2016, 2017, 2018).

The year started with a high-profile failure by the government. Months after it was announced that Croatia would buy used Israeli F-16 fighter planes, the US government vetoed the sale and the whole project fell through. Despite earlier warnings from experts that the deal was in question, ministers continued to claim that everything was alight. However, after a meeting between high-ranking officials from the United States and Israel, the truth was revealed. Ministers lost their nerves and the government launched an immediate investigation, which expectedly ended without any real results, and also announced that it would re-start the process. To show its level of seriousness, it even established a commission! Twelve months later, the process of deciding which aircraft to buy still hasn't move any further on and is not expected to end for at least another year.

The migrant crisis continued to be in the news this year. The inflow of migrants over the borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia increased somewhat, together with media coverage about alleged brutality of Croatian police and illegal pushbacks of migrants to Bosnia. The authorities were quick to deny everything, but the sheer number of documented cases makes it apparent that at least some of the allegations are founded.

Efforts to limit media freedoms continued this year and some reporters were even briefly arrested. Journalists, NGOs and international organisations stood up to these attempts, but the final score is still unknown.

Repression continued in other ways as well, with courts ruling that peaceful protesters should go to prison, Croatia's human rights situation being criticised from abroad, ethnically-motivated assaults (several of them) taking place, ombudswomen’s warnings not being heard, journalists receiving instructions from the president on what to do, and diplomats spreading hate...

Historical revisionism was in full force once again this year. As a result, representatives of Jews, Serbs and anti-fascist organisations once again boycotted the government’s annual commemoration at the site of the Jasenovac concentration camp.

European elections were held in May (with even Pamela Anderson giving recommendations to Croatian voters). While the ruling HDZ party had high hopes earlier in the year (and was supported by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who attended one of its rather controversial rallies in Zagreb), the actual results were much tighter and were interpreted by everyone as a success for the opposition (particularly SDP) and a disappointment for the government.

June brought us a few days of excitement when it seemed possible that prime minister Plenković might just succeed in his life-long dream of getting a top EU job. Despite denying he ever wanted such a thing, he was rumoured to be trying to become president of the European Commission (or president of the European Council, or perhaps something else). In the end, he had to return to Croatia empty handed, again denying his alleged attempts.

Unlike Plenković, foreign minister Marija Pejčinović-Burić was more successful in the area of career development. In June, she was elected secretary-general of the Council of Europe. She promptly resigned her post in Croatia and has not been heard about since. Another happy politician is Dubravka Šuica, who has been appointed Croatia’s commissioner in the European Commission.

Mostly good economic news continued. Public debt is at its lowest level in decades, the European Commission concluded that Croatia no longer suffered from excessive economic imbalances, and GDP growth is holding up.

One of the companies which was in the public focus this year was Croatia Airlines, Croatia’s national flag carrier. Its business results were dismal and the search for possible strategic partners was on, but without any real results. The government eventually decided to cover some of the debts, but as the year comes to and end, there is no long-term solution in sight. In the meantime, Zagreb Airport continues to lose airlines using its services.

The construction of an LNG terminal on the island of Krk has apparently started out with strong support from the US government, after many years of delays and announcements. The project is funded from the state budget, since there was no interest among anyone to actually use the terminal. The government claims that there will be interest once the terminal is built, but it would not be the first major government-funded project in Croatia’s history to fail to deliver on its promises.

The construction of Pelješac bridge continues to go at an even faster pace than expected (despite occasional Bosnian protests), mostly thanks to the efforts by the Chinese construction company which won the tender, which also brought about a marked improvement in the relations between Croatia and China. Unfortunately, the construction of the access roads leading up to the bridge has not progressed nearly as fast, with tenders being decided just several months ago. It is quite possible that, when the bridge is built, it will be unusable for a while because there will be no roads leading to it.

Emigration continues amid Croatia's demographic crisis, although somewhat slower than in previous years, probably as a result of the fact that most of those who could have left have already done so. The authorities talk about demographic revival, but nothing much has happened so far.

Political scandals were as numerous as ever. The regional development minister had an accident while driving without a driving license, the agriculture minister forgot to list all his assets on an official statement, the administration minister had his own scandals which were too numerous even to count, and the state assets minister had problems of his own. The Prime minister strongly supported his ministers before some of them resigned, and then he changed his mind and dismissed the rest of them.

The ruling coalition remained stable this year, despite occasional rumours of impending collapse. Ultimatums were rejected, resignations demanded, talks announced, decisions to stay in coalition made, threats given... Just the usual stuff.

As expected, the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia has not been resolved this year. Slovenia was disappointed with the EU’s decision not to get involved in a dispute between its two members. The chances that this issue will feature in our review for 2020 are quite high.

In October, the European Commission announced that Croatia has fulfilled all the technical conditions to join the Schengen area. However, the final decision will require the unanimous support of all EU member states, and Slovenia does not seem ready to give its approval until the border dispute with Croatia is resolved. 

Another major project is the introduction of euro in Croatia. After a lot of talk, the government has finally sent an official request. The process will certainly take years and opinion is divided as to whether it is a good idea or not.

One of the highlights were the trade union's activities. Earlier in the year, the unions managed to collect enough signatures for a referendum against the government’s pension reform and an increase in the retirement age. The government capitulated and revoked already approved laws (although it previously warned that such a decision would be a disaster).

The other major trade union success was the primary and secondary school strike later in the year. After almost two months, the government capitulated and gave the unions more or less everything they had asked for.

One of the highlights of the next six months will be Croatia’s EU presidency. The government is promoting it as a great success, although all EU member states sooner or later get their chance to hold the rotating presidency. While Croatia's plans are ambitious, their delivery will probably be more modest.

The major event at the end of the year was the first round of Croatia's presidential elections.

While the post is largely ceremonial, elections are held every five years and still manage to occupy public attention for months. Three major candidates launched their bids: incumbent president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (officially an independent candidate who in reality is HDZ), former SDP prime minister Zoran Milanović, and singer Miroslav Škoro, who presented himself as a candidate of change, despite having been an MP, a diplomat and a former HDZ member.

The first round was held on December 22. Zoran Milanović won with 29.6% of the vote, followed by Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović with 26.7%. Škoro was third with 24.5%. Milanović and Grabar-Kitarović will take part in the run-off on January 5.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Opinion of Advocate General as Step Toward Agreement with Slovenia

ZAGREB, December 12, 2019 - The opinion of the advocate general of the European Union's top court that this judicial institution has no jurisdiction over the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute is a step toward agreement between the two countries on the issue dating back to the time of Yugoslavia's break-up, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday.

Court of Justice of the European Union Advocate General Priit Pikamae said on Wednesday the Court did not have jurisdiction in Slovenia's case against Croatia, accepting arguments submitted by Croatia which argued that the case was not about EU law but international law.

Slovenia launched proceedings against Croatia alleging that its neighbour was violating articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which concern respect for the rule of law and loyal cooperation between member states.

Commenting on the opinion of the Estonian expert Pikamae, Plenković said at a meeting of his cabinet that what Croatia and Slovenia had in common was greater than the issue of border demarcation, an outstanding issue dating back to the time when they were republics in the Yugoslav federation.

"Eventually we will definitely sit at the table and seek a mutually satisfactory solution," said the premier.

The opinion presented by the independent attorney-general is a step in that direction, he added.

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

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Court of Justice Advocate General Deems Slovenia's Demands Against Croatia Unfounded

ZAGREB, December 11, 2019 - Court of Justice of the European Union Advocate General Priit Pikamae believes the Court does not have jurisdiction in Slovenia's case against Croatia over alleged infringements of EU law caused by the non-enforcement of a border arbitration award, it was said in Luxembourg on Wednesday.

The advocates general's opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. The advocate general does not represent the interests of either the parties or the public, only giving an expert opinion on relevant legal matters in complete independence.

We cannot predict the Court's judgment based on the advocate general's opinion, Court spokesman Balazs Lehoczki told reporters. He added that the judgment could be expected in the first half of 2020, perhaps in the first quarter.

The practice to date shows that in cases before the Grand Chamber, as in Slovenia's action against Croatia, the Court follows the advocate general's opinion in about 50% of the cases.

Since Croatia contested the validity of the arbitration award and refused to be bound by it, Slovenia brought infringement proceedings 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 concern 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 submits 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.

"First of all, the Advocate General points out that the purpose of an action for failure to fulfil obligations is to obtain a declaration that the conduct of a Member State is in breach of EU law and to terminate that conduct. He is therefore of the view that it is necessary to examine the relationship of the arbitration agreement and the arbitration award in question with EU law and to determine whether the EU is bound by them," the Court said in a press release.

In that regard, the Advocate General notes that the EU "is bound by international conventions concluded by the EU pursuant to the provisions of the Treaties, by international conventions where the EU assumes powers previously exercised by the Member States, and by rules of customary international law when the EU exercises its powers. International conventions that do not fall within those categories are not acts of the EU and do not bind it."

"Relying on the case-law of the Court of Justice, the Advocate General points out that the territorial scope of the Treaties is an objective fact predetermined by the Member States which the EU has to accept. Consequently, the Advocate General is of the view that delimitation of national territory does not fall within the sphere of competence of the EU or, therefore, of the Court of Justice," said the press release.

"Next, the Advocate General examines Slovenia’s heads of claim. As regards the relationship between, on the one hand, the arbitration agreement and the arbitration award and, on the other hand, EU law, the Advocate General notes that it does not fall within any of the situations in which the EU is bound by international law."

As for the alleged infringement of the value of the rule of law and of the principle of sincere cooperation, "the Advocate General is of the view that those matters are merely ancillary to the issue of delimitation of the land and maritime boundaries between the two Member States concerned and that, accordingly, the Court does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine those complaints. Furthermore, the Advocate General states that, according to the case-law of the Court of Justice, the principle of sincere cooperation has constituted an independent basis for obligations in cases where the EU was party to a mixed agreement or where the obligations being fulfilled arose under the EU Treaties. However, the conduct at issue does not fall within either of those two situations."

"Regarding the alleged failure to fulfil obligations in relation to the common fisheries policy, border control and maritime spatial planning, the Advocate General observes that Slovenia is relying on the premise that the boundary has been determined by the arbitration award. However, the Advocate General emphasises that the award has not been implemented in the relations between the two Member States concerned. He is therefore of the opinion that, from an EU law perspective, the boundary between those two Member States has not been established. The Advocate General infers that Slovenia is seeking, by implication, to have the arbitration award implemented, which falls outside the EU’s sphere of competence," the press release said.

The Advocate General concludes that "the alleged infringements of EU law are ancillary to the issue of determining the boundary between Croatia and Slovenia. Determining that boundary is, by its very nature, a matter of public international law in respect of which the Court does not have jurisdiction."

Court spokesman Lehoczki said that sometimes a party lodged objections to an advocate general's opinion, which the Court noted in its judgment and decided on the legal and factual elements available.

He added that sometimes, after an advocate general's opinion was published, a party might also request another hearing but that this was not customary and that in nearly all cases the Court only mentioned those arguments in the judgment and decided on the legal and factual elements available.

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

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Croatia: Slovenia's Parliament Confirms Arbitration Was Compromised

ZAGREB, November 26, 2019 - The international community knows that the arbitration proceedings in the Croatia-Slovenia border dispute was compromised and now that has been confirmed in Slovenia's parliament, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said in Brussels on Monday.

"The arbitration proceedings have been compromised and the international community is aware of that fact and that fact has now been confirmed in Slovenia's parliament. Who else needs to confirm that the arbitration proceedings were compromised if even the country that claims it wasn't, no longer thinks so," Grlić Radman said commenting on a report by a parliamentary commission for the oversight of Slovenian secret services.

The report actually admits that the Slovenian secret service SOVA had from the very start of the border arbitration process provided support to Slovenian diplomats in their attempts to lobby for the Slovenian side.

Grlić Radman reiterated Croatia's stance regarding the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute, saying that this is a bilateral matter that needs to be resolved by the two countries.

"There is no point in trying to prove whether the decision by the compromised arbitration is valid or not. Slovenia's side is unnecessarily exhausting itself by trying to prove that the arbitration award is valid. It is unnecessarily wasting time instead of sitting down at the table and start resolving outstanding issues," Grlić Radman said.

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

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Border Dispute with Slovenia Should Be Settled Bilaterally

ZAGREB, November 24, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Saturday that it was completely clear that the Slovenian state apparatus had been used to influence the outcome of international arbitration proceedings in the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute and that the dispute could be settled only bilaterally.

Grabar-Kitarović made the statement in a comment on a report by a Slovenian commission which shows that Slovenian state institutions had covered up unlawful communication between an arbitration agent and an arbitral judge.

"Slovenia has finally admitted its involvement in the scandalous activities that resulted in the failure of the arbitration proceedings. It is now entirely clear that the Slovenian state apparatus was used to influence the outcome of the arbitration proceedings. Arbitration is long dead, and the dispute can be resolved only bilaterally," Grabar-Kitarović said on Twitter.

The Večernji List daily of Saturday said that the report in question showed that by using intelligence services, the Slovenian state had participated in the covering up of communication between Slovenian arbitration agent Simona Drenik and arbitral judge Jernej Sekolec, with the Slovenian intelligence agency SOVA starting to prepare for arbitration in early 2009 while the arbitration agreement was signed in the autumn that year.

The daily says that the report by the Slovenian parliamentary commission for the oversight of intelligence services proves beyond doubt that the Slovenian side had used the state apparatus and its secret services for the purpose of arbitration fraud.

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman believes that this paves the way to settling the border dispute bilaterally.

"... the Slovenian side has really admitted its own mistake and responsibility. I believe that that is a good way to return to the negotiating table and start negotiations because this is a bilateral issue," Grlić Radman told reporters in Zagreb on Saturday.

"As regards Croatia, good will has always existed. I believe that together with our Slovenian neighbours and friends we will find an appropriate solution," the minister said.

The Croatian parliament in late July 2015 adopted a unanimous decision to withdraw from the border arbitration agreement the two countries had signed in 2009 after Slovenia irreparably compromised the proceedings, and it proposed launching talks on an alternative way to settle the dispute.

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

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Plenković Hopeful Border Dispute with Slovenia Won't Affect Croatia's Schengen Bid

ZAGREB, November 2, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in an interview which the Euronews television news network broadcast on Friday that he believed that Slovenia would not block Croatia's accession to the passport-free Schengen Area over their border dispute, adding that the dispute was irrelevant in that context.

"First of all, the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia is an open issue that we have on the agenda for the last 30 years. Had this been a condition for any of the two countries to join the EU or to join the Schengen, then Slovenia would not have entered either, in either of the two inner cycles."

"Our firm belief is that Schengen membership for Croatia should be completely separated from a bilateral border issue between the two countries. For us it is the Savudrija Bay, for them, it is the Piran Bay. At the end of the day, we can find a solution," Plenković said in his response to the reporter's question whether due to "the open dispute with Slovenia over the Gulf of Piran" the Slovenian side might even veto Croatia's way to the Schengen Zone if there is no solution.

Plenković expressed confidence that the two countries can find a solution. "What we are saying towards our Slovenian neighbours 'we have an open issue, there are ways to solve it, peaceful ways, good neighbourly relations and a solution that can be acceptable for both sides, unrelated with our Schengen ambitions."

Upon the reporter's remark that Croatia recently got a green light from the European Commission for the Schengen Zone and that the decision came "as a surprise to many because lately, Europe seems to be closing in rather than opening up," the premier said that "first of all, the decision of the college of the European Commission, of Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission in Strasbourg last week is actually a fruit of four years hard work by Croatia, by fulfilling the criteria which are structured in eight different chapters of the so-called Schengen acquis."

"In every (all) of these chapters, we have managed to elevate the readiness of Croatia to be part of Schengen. So this was a very thorough technical evaluation by the Commission services."

In response to the reporter's comment that Croatia has a long coastline, including 1,300 kilometres of border with non-EU countries which prompted her to ask Plenković if Croatia considered any special measures to protect its borders, he answered "Not only considered, but we have put them in place."

"Croatia has very much invested in the capabilities of our police force. We have 6,500 police officers fully trained and equipped to guard the external EU border, which is the Schengen border. We have not opted either for walls or barricades or barb wires, unlike some other countries, because we felt first of all that the relationship that we have with Bosnia- Herzegovina, in particular, was not the adequate way to guard the border. So we are cooperating between the police services of Croatia, of Bosnia- Herzegovina, of Croatia and Serbian Croatian Montenegro."

Plenković also dismissed accusations levelled by some NGOs say about "police violence against immigrants".

The premier says: "We have always respected the Croatian law, we have respected the highest standards, but we are also protecting our border. Any allegation that we have heard, it has been investigated. So far when it comes to the behaviour of our policemen we can only praise their efforts for guarding not only the Croatian border but also guarding the border of all the other EU member states which are behind us."

More news about Croatia and the Schengen area can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Croatia Confident Slovenia Will Support Its Schengen Entry

ZAGREB, October 26, 2019 - Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Friday he expected Slovenia to make a "wise decision" and support Croatia's Schengen entry which, he added, was also in the interest of Slovenia's authorities because it meant the EU's external border would move and become Croatia's responsibility.

"Slovenia will certainly act wisely and intelligently," he told reporters in Split in the wake of messages from Slovenia after the European Commission assessed that Croatia met the technical conditions to join the Schengen area of free travel.

He said Croatia met a score of difficult conditions to deserve that assessment, adding that Slovenia could benefit the most as protecting the EU's external border was its responsibility now. "Croatia's Schengen entry will help Slovenians the most," he said, adding that he was sure the majority of Slovenians thought the same.

Asked if during its Council of the EU presidency in the first half of 2020 Croatia would again raise the issue of enlargement to southeast Europe despite opposition from some member states, Grlić Radman said it would, but noted that it was a process which primarily depended on meeting the requirements.

"We regret the decision of some countries which didn't support launching the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania because we strongly pushed for launching the negotiation process," he said, adding that he hoped the topic would be on the agenda of an EU summit in Zagreb next year and that some policy chapters in the accession negotiations with aspirants Serbia and Montenegro would be closed by then.

More news about Croatia and the Schengen area can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Slovenia Can't Block Croatia's Schengen Entry Indefinitely, Says Plenković

ZAGREB, September 27, 2019 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Friday that if Slovenia decided to block Croatia's Schengen entry, it would not be able to do so indefinitely.

"They can't block indefinitely. We are a member state, we have enough mechanisms. That's all I'll say," he told Croatian reporters in Brussels who asked him if Slovenia could stop Croatia's Schengen Area accession for a long time.

Plenković is on a three-day visit to Brussels. Today he met European Commission Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis and Finnish PM Annti Rinne, whose country is the current Council of the EU chair.

Plenković said he was pleased with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's guarantee that next month Croatia would receive a positive assessment on the meeting of the Schengen entry criteria, to be followed by a political debate at the Council of the EU. All member states must approve the accession.

Plenković said it was not realistic to expect a decision to that effect during Croatia's EU presidency in the first half of 2020.

"We believe we have met the criteria. Now there will be a political debate, but not during our presidency. The Schengen entry criteria are objective, we have met them, and if there are some political issues, we will deal with them at the Council."

Plenković said he did not expect problems from the member states which now were against Bulgaria and Romania entering Schengen. Both have had a positive assessment of their compliance with the criteria since 2011.

Plenković said that he and Dombrovskis talked about the implementation of Croatia's euro action plan and preparations for joining the European Exchange Rate Mechanism II.

"The Commission is following in detail what we are doing, and we are doing it within the deadlines we have set, therefore the process if going well," he said, adding that a Commission delegation collecting data as part of the European Semester would visit Zagreb in October.

"I talked about those topics with Vice-President Dombrovskis and the Commission has a positive view of our reform efforts," Plenković said.

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

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Slovenia: Croatia's Accession to Schengen Area Conditional on Rule of Law

ZAGREB, September 26, 2019 - Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar said during the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday that Slovenia was in favour of expansion of the Schengen area of passport-free travel but only if Croatia respected the rule of law, Slovenian media reported.

In a comment on Croatian media reports that the European Commission would next month confirm that Croatia had met technical conditions for accession to the Schengen area, which outgoing EC President Jean-Claude Juncker had allegedly promised Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Cerar told reporters in New York that Slovenia supported the expansion of the Schengen area in principle but that the rule of law "is one of the key standards that must be respected by countries that are about to join the Schengen area", Slovenian Television said.

Alluding to an arbitration ruling on the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute, which Croatia does not recognise because of Slovenia's having compromised the arbitration proceedings, Cerar said that respect for the rule of law also means "respect for and implementation of international agreements and decisions of international courts," the Slovenian media quoted sources at the Slovenian Foreign Ministry as saying.

The Slovenian commercial POP TV station claimed that the Croatian government had expected the outgoing European Commission, led by Juncker, to have the issue of compliance with technical conditions for accession to the Schengen area on its agenda already on October 2, but that this was opposed by the Slovenian member of the outgoing Commission, Violeta Bulc, and reportedly also by EC Vice-President Frans Timmermans.

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

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