The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party announced on Tuesday that Parliament would declare an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea before the end of its autumn session on December 15.
“Before the end of this session, the Croatian Parliament will pass a resolution declaring a Croatian exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea,” the chairman of the HDZ group in Parliament, Branko Bacic, said at a press conference.
“The foreign ministers of Croatia and Italy, Gordan Grlic Radman and Luigi Di Maio, had a ministerial conference in Zagreb yesterday and agreed on declaring exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic together,” he added.
Bacic recalled that the government and the HDZ had stressed on several occasions during discussion on exclusive economic zones in the Adriatic and on matters relating to environmental protection and fisheries that Croatia would initiate a procedure to declare an exclusive economic zone in a European spirit, taking account of good neighbourly relations with Italy.
Back in 2003, Croatia declared an ecological and fisheries protection zone which included 99 percent of elements of an exclusive economic zone, excluding the possibility of building artificial islands and exploiting wind and sea power, he said.
“Now we think that the conditions have been met for Croatia to declare, in a spirit of good neighbourly relations and in a European spirit, the remaining components of the economic zone that were not included in the ecological and fisheries protection zone,” Bacic said.
He said that Croatia had a right to declare an exclusive economic zone based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and based on the Maritime Code.
Given that Croatia is a member of the European Union, its exclusive economic zone will form part of the EU’s common waters and Croatia will implement the common fisheries policy in the zone, he added.
“When Italy declares its exclusive economic zone in its part of the Adriatic, the European Commission’s fisheries measures will apply both to our and to their exclusive economic zone, as well as to all other exclusive economic zones declared by EU member states,” Bacic said.
Bacic said that Croatia and Italy would begin talks on delimitation of the two exclusive economic zones. He added that Slovenia had been informed of this decision and that he did not expect any disputes about it.