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Press Release

29.12.17

Slovenia fulfils international legal commitments through implementation of arbitration award

In accordance with its international commitments, as of 30 December 2017, i.e. the day after the publication of the decision on keeping records on the border with Croatia in the records on the national border in Official Gazette no. 80/2017, it can begin enforcing the arbitration award. With the keeping of records on the national border, the newly defined maritime border between Slovenia and Croatia, which the arbiters defined precisely, will enter into force.  The final implementation of the arbitration award with regard to the land border will require demarcation, which will not be possible without Croatia’s cooperation. Despite Slovenia’s efforts to adhere to and implement the arbitration award, Croatia has not yet recognised it.

   

The six-month deadline set for preparations for the implementation of the ruling, as determined in the arbitration agreement, expired on 29 December 2017. The countries were supposed to conduct all necessary activities for the implementation of the ruling during that period. Slovenia undertook the preparations responsibly, as it is aware that the arbitration award is binding and final, and is a part of the international and European legal order. Croatia has rejected the ruling ever since its announcement, and therefore Slovenia has made preparations for its implementation in those areas in which this is possible without the cooperation of our neighbouring country.

   

The entry into force of the arbitration award means the entry into force of a package of four laws which Slovenia adopted within the prescribed six-month deadline. These are:

   

The Act Regulating Certain Issues regarding the Final Award of the Arbitral Tribunal on the basis of the Arbitration Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of Croatia (ZUVRAS), which preserves various rights and sets out various new rights of Slovenian citizens affected by the arbitration award, the

Act on Keeping Records on the National Border with the Republic of Croatia, which also refers to the 

draft Land Register Act and the 

draft Marine Fisheries Act. 

  

Maritime border

  

The announcement of the arbitration award marked the first time that the maritime border between Slovenia and Croatia has been defined. The arbiters also determined that the Slovenian part of the Bay of Piran has the status of inland waters. Pursuant to the above, as of 30 December 2017, Slovenian state authorities (Fisheries Inspectorate, Environmental Inspectorate, Maritime Administration, Police) on the basis of legislation currently in force, will proceed on the basis of the fact that the arbitration award is in force on the maritime part of the border and will exercise their authorities in Slovenian waters.

   

Land border

  

The precise location of the land border can be determined in situ only by a joint interstate commission which will carry out the demarcation. This is a process which requires coordination with Croatia. Slovenia would like this process to begin as soon as possible, partly because it has citizens living on both sides of the border. Therefore it has sent Croatia a proposal to establish the aforementioned commission, as well as a proposal to establish joint bodies for the implementation of the arbitration award.

   

Fishing rights and border residents

  

Another law will also enter into force on 30 December 2017, relating to commercial fishing in Slovenian waters. This will allow Slovenian and Croatian fishermen to conduct their activities in accordance with the European legal order.

   

The arbitration award has affected the lives of Slovenian citizens who live on the Croatian border. Therefore Slovenia adopted legislation within the prescribed deadline which will make it easier for people who live on the border to preserve their existing rights and acquire new rights.

   

The legal path is the only path to a final resolution of the border issue

  

The arbitration award is based on the arbitration agreement, which is an international treaty signed by Slovenia and Croatia and sponsored by the European Commission. The enforcement of the arbiters’ ruling is therefore binding on Slovenia and Croatia, as confirmed by the European Commission in its position published on 4 July 2017.

   

Relations between Slovenia and Croatia are good, complex and multi-layered. In order to maintain friendly relations, Slovenia will continue to enforce the arbitration award and continually encourage Croatia to engage in a dialogue and to implement the ruling. Slovenia will protect its interests, and will avoid tensions and incidents. Slovenia believes that adherence to the arbitration award is the only real path to the resolution of the border issue, which has remained unresolved for many years, and will therefore continue to work for its implementation through legal means. 


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