Plenkovic: Court ruling doesn't call for implementation of border arbitration award

Photo /Vijesti/2020/01 siječanj/31 siječnja/P-3.jpg

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Friday dismissed the claim by Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar that the Court of Justice of the European Union urged the two countries to implement the border arbitration ruling.

The Court of Justice of the EU said on Friday it has no jurisdiction to rule on Slovenia's action against Croatia over alleged infringements of European law resulting from Croatia's non-implementation of a border arbitration award.

Cerar said he was very pleased that the Court, although it had declared lack of jurisdiction in the case, made it clear what it thought of the border arbitration ruling and that it said that the arbitration ruling was valid and had to be implemented by both parties.

Plenkovic dismissed Cerar's claim as "factually not true." "Neither is Croatia called upon in this ruling to implement the arbitration agreement, nor can Slovenia resolve this matter on its own. That's the key, the gist of today's message," Plenkovic told a press conference in Zagreb.

The Court's ruling is available on its website.

The Court said it is not up to it to examine the question of the extent and limits of the respective territories of Croatia and Slovenia because that competence is reserved to the member states in accordance with international law, and that under the arbitration agreement it is for the parties to that agreement to take the steps necessary to implement the arbitration award.

Plenkovic noted that after the "failure" of Slovenia's action before the Court of Justice of the EU the key achievement is the fact that "there exists no other legal or judicial international body" to which this matter can be referred without Croatia's consent.

Plenkovic said that Croatia is taking this opportunity to reiterate its invitation to Slovenia to resume bilateral talks in search of a final solution to the border issue "which objectively is not far away," but which is challenging because both parties need the support of their respective parliaments to ratify an agreement.

The Croatian prime minister called on Slovenia to "stop taking unilateral steps along the common border which has not been determined yet" and to stop fining Croatian fishermen. As soon as Slovenia stops doing that, Croatia will give up its reciprocal measures which it was forced to take because of Slovenia's unilateral decision and actions, he said.

Plenkovic reiterated that Croatia and Slovenia are two friendly countries and "apart from residual issues stemming from the break-up of Yugoslavia they never had any open issues or conflicts." He expressed confidence that after today's ruling of the Court in Luxembourg, the two countries can open dialogue in search of a solution to the demarcation of the land and sea border.

"We want to send a message that we are mature and friendly states and nations and that the existing problem is not of such a magnitude that it should have burdened our relations for all these years," Plenkovic said.

Plenkovic will meet outgoing Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec already on Saturday at a meeting of the Friends of Cohesion group in Portugal.

Text: Hina

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