Slovenians who own property in Croatia demand unrestricted cross-border travel

NEWS 23.03.2021 17:59
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Source: N1, ilustracija

Slovenian nationals who own property in Croatia have formed a group calling on Slovenian and Croatian authorities to grant them cross-border access to their properties during the Covid-19 pandemic, Croatia's state agency Hina reported on Tuesday.

Noting that the initiative was launched due to the current situation and problems in crossing the border, they said that they had launched a Facebook page and an online petition demanding that they be allowed free access to their properties and vessels.

The Facebook page currently has 2,000 members. Speaking on behalf of the initiative, Sonja Lap-Car and Jure Macek said that it had been one year since authorities had restricted access to their properties and vessels, with the exception of the period from 15 May to 24 August 2020.

“Restricting people’s access to their own properties in a neighboring country, which is also a member of the EU, is unacceptable. Under the law, property owners are not in the same category as tourists. The point is that property ownership entails many obligations while, on the other hand, they also come with some  rights. We have to do maintenance on our properties and vehicles, pay local taxes, contributions, and fees – but we are unable to access any of them,” they said.

Not being able to access one’s property for a longer period of time increases the risk of damage to the property, of theft or illegal squatting, they said, and asked who would compensate them situations like these happened.

“We are confident in saying that restricting access to our properties infringes on our right to private ownership… which is part of the EU acquis. Property purchases in EU member states is virtually completely unrestricted, and the EU is founded on the idea of free movement of people, capital, and services,” Lap-Car and Macek said.

They said they are against mandatory coronavirus tests as a requirement to cross the border for them to visit their properties, as well as any Covid-19 passports or mandatory quarantines, claiming that the only document they need to produce should be proof of ownership. They added that there is no evidence that visiting property owners have a negative impact on the epidemiological situation in either country.

According to data presented last spring by the tourism ministers of Slovenia and Croatia during bilateral talks on cross-border regime, about 110,000 properties in Croatia are owned by Slovenian nationals. Most of these are holiday homes in coastal areas in Croatia’s northern Adriatic.

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