'EC was right in staying out of Croatia-Slovenia dispute'

NEWS 16.09.2018 13:56
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Source: Patrik Maček/ Pixsell

The European Commission made the right decision when it decided not to interfere in the territorial dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, the Croatian Government said on Sunday in response to an article that claimed EC head Jean-Claude Juncker was preventing the EC from getting involved despite his own legal department’s opinion.

The left-leaning liberal German newspaper ‘Der Spiegel’ on Friday published the article, titled ‘The Juncker-Croatia Connection’, which says that the legal department of the European Commission has clearly sided with Slovenia, according to a document from May 18 this year, but that Jucker is rejecting this position.

“The legal department is of the opinion that a large part of the complaints Slovenia submitted as proof for Croatia breaching EU law is justified,” said the document, which was signed by EC Legal Service Deputy Director-General Karen Banks, Der Spiegel wrote.

The document concluded that the “decision from the Arbitrary Court must be accepted by the European Union.”  

When Slovenia’s news agency STA asked the Croatian Government about this, the Government responded that even though it does not comment internal documents that “do not represent the official decisions or stances of the EC”, the EU decision to refrain from getting involved in the dispute was right.  

The stance of Croatia, which has left the arbitration agreement after Slovenia compromised it and does not accept the arbitrary ruling, is that the border issue is bilateral and needs to be solved according to international law.  

“The stance of the Croatian Government is that Croatia and Slovenia, as two friendly countries and members of NATO and the EU, need to continue their dialogue and solve the border dispute in a way that will satisfy both parties and in a good neighbourly spirit,” the Croatian Government said.  

Der Spiegel wrote that Juncker is refraining from expressing the EU’s stance on the dispute because he was asked to do so by Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic in February this year.  

Plenkovic is “part of the same fraction” as Jucker, and if that would have not been the case, the Commission would side with Slovenia and the “damage for Croatia’s image would be huge,” the paper wrote.  

It said that Juncker did not want to get the Commission involved because it “would not help anybody.”