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Press Release

15.12.17

Government representatives meet border residents

In the past week, government representatives met with people living along the border with Croatia and with fishermen who have been impacted by the arbitration ruling. Slovenia recently adopted a package of legislation granting these people certain rights, in order to mitigate the consequences that implementation of the arbitration ruling will have on their lives. The Secretary-General of the Slovenian Government, Lilijana Kozlovič, therefore took a team into the field to explain to people how they can exercise the rights accorded to them in the new legislation, and what enactment of the legislation will actually mean for them. 

 

 

The deadline for putting in place everything necessary for implementation of the arbitration ruling will expire on 29 December. Slovenia has adopted all the legislation that it is able to adopt without the participation of Croatia, and has thereby also fulfilled its commitments under the arbitration agreement. “Our guiding principle is still to conduct dialogue with the neighbouring country,” stressed the Secretary-General during the meetings with local residents. 

 
 
Lendava discussions focus on farm land and concrete works

 

On Tuesday 12 December Government representatives met first with residents of the municipality of Lendava, then later with residents of the municipality of Razkrižje, and explained to them how they can exercise the rights accorded to them under the recently adopted legislative package for implementing the arbitration ruling, and what enactment of this legislation will in fact mean for them.

 

 

Following the meeting in Lendava, Government Secretary-General Lilijana Kozlovič said that the Slovenian Government is aware of how important the adopted laws and their implementation are for the people impacted by the arbitration ruling: “For this reason we have come here today to tell them in specific terms what they should do in each specific case, when the recording of the border takes place. Their point of contact will be the administrative unit.” She added that Slovenia has drafted all the legislation that it is able to adopt without the participation of Croatia, and has thereby also fulfilled its commitments under the arbitration agreement. “Our guiding principle is still conducting dialogue with the Republic of Croatia,” she said, adding: “At this time the Slovenian Prime Minister will therefore be calling on his Croatian counterpart to join in appointing a commission to determine the border, along with any possible adjustments, where its course is entirely incompatible with people’s lives, and where this is possible.”

 

 

Deputy Mayor of the municipality of Lendava, Stanislav Gjerkeš, noted that the Government team made every effort to ensure that the demands of people adversely affected by the arbitration were taken into account, and that everything agreed upon would also be delivered: “Farmers have the possibility of obtaining a lease on the Slovenian side (this was also their fundamental demand), and we also anticipate things being resolved in relation to the concrete works at Hotiza. The owner has the option of moving the concrete works to the Slovenian side. Concerning the transmission lines, a path will also be sought on the Slovenian side of the border, and also the flood barriers, which protect land on the Slovenian side, will be maintained by the Slovenian state.”

 
 
 
Kozlovič: No simple decisions for people in Razkrižje

 

After a meeting with the mayor and impacted local residents in the municipality of Razkrižje, the Secretary-General of the Slovenian Government emphasised that the situation in Razkrižje is not simple: “The arbitration ruling is a fact. The tribunal ruled according to the principle of utis possidetis, so Slovenia, which did not possess this area, did not acquire it under the ruling either." She reiterated the Slovenian Government efforts to do everything necessary based on the arbitration ruling, and that it has drafted all the necessary legislation that it was able to without Croatian participation. 

 

 

Here, in the words of the Secretary General, it has worked very hard to preserve for citizens as many rights as possible, including through the option of choosing a residence in Slovenia: “In this region, each time we come here there is a lot of emotion, since the situation is not simple for residents. The border is something that divides instead of connects people. I hope and believe that Croatia will also accept as soon as possible the invitation from our Prime Minister to jointly appoint a commission that will determine the national border and resolve this unliveable situation.”

 

 

In talks with media representatives, she went on to say that Slovenia’s only options are talks about implementation, but once the border is defined on the ground, actual life situations can be taken into account. The legislative package will enter into force once the Slovenian Government adopts the decision confirming the cartographic delineation of the border and resolves to record this delineation in the land register.

 
 
Meeting with fishermen and residents from Sečovlje

 

 

On Wednesday 13 December Government representatives met with the representatives of fishermen and then residents of the local community of Sečovlje, and explained to them how they can exercise the rights accorded to them under the recently adopted legislative package for implementing the arbitration ruling, and what enactment of this legislation will in fact mean for them.

 

 

After Wednesday’s meeting with fishermen in Piran, Government Secretary-General Lilijana Kozlovič said that the Government had put in place everything necessary for the arbitration ruling to be implemented, and that as of 29 December Slovenia will continue to exercise its sovereignty at sea. Slovenia has already been exercising its sovereignty to date. The maritime border has been defined, and there is no need for a special commission to determine it. It is quite clear to everyone what rights Slovenian fishermen have in all this. 

 

 

The Government representatives talked with fishermen about the emergency law which will serve to provide compensation for losses owing to impacted commercial catches, and about safety at sea. The police have already put in place certain measures, and they have the means and adequate number of people in Slovenian waters. All efforts are being focused on avoiding incidents at sea, and on fishermen being able to pursue their activity normally. The Slovenian Government and police force believe that Croatia and the Croatian police share the same desire. 

 

 

Talks also covered the maritime fisheries act, which is an integral part of – or rather transposes an integral part of – EU legislation. This involves historical fishing rights that are an integral part of the EU and enable both sides to exercise these rights.

 
 
 
Meeting with residents of Sečovlje

 

After meeting with residents in Sečovlje, Government Secretary-General Lilijana Kozlovič pointed out that the emergency law, which they discussed, will enter into force once the Government adopts the decision to record the national border. The guiding principle for Slovenia is still to conduct talks with Croatia and for the Croatian Prime Minister to accept the invitation of the Slovenian Prime Minister to jointly appoint a bilateral commission, which will determine the border on the ground and also take into consideration all the life circumstances, which was something required by the Arbitral Tribunal. 

 

 

Secretary-General Kozlovič also underlined that the Government had taken into account the majority of the needs and wishes of local residents. The only issue in this area that it could not accommodate concerns hereditary leases, since this right is regulated by another law and there was no need to address it in this act. 

 

 

“The decisions we took together – and residents will also receive a record of them – are that we will send them the law, send them all the information about how they can directly exercise these rights, and their direct point of contact will be the head of the local community in Sečovlje as well as the administrative unit, which will have all the forms and necessary information,” explained the Secretary-General. 

 

 

Talks also covered farm land and moving home. The Secretary-General underlined that everyone has the option of choosing a residence within Slovenia. But this does not mean that they will receive compensation in its entirety so they can buy new property, and they will need to contribute their own share. Local residents have one year to decide. Then any home move will need to be completed in three years.


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