Friday, 21 January 2011

Croatian fishing regulations provoke Slovenian protest

Slovenia and Croatia's maritime boundary dispute, currently in the process of arbitration, has flared up again recently, due to Croatia's fishing regulations.

The Croatian national television station reported that, according to Croatia's rulebook, the border is established along the middle of the Bay of Piran, although it acknowledged that it could change as a result of arbitration proceedings.

Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Thursday 20th January that Croatia's regulations on fishing area boundaries had no legal bearing on arbitration proceedings that would solve the bilateral border dispute, but added that the adoption of the regulations was a unilateral step against which Slovenia would officially protest tomorrow.

Pahor said the Foreign Ministry would forward the note to the relevent agencies on Friday 21st January.

The issue emerged on Thursday when the foreign policy committees of Slovenia and Croatia met in Ljubljana in their first meeting in a decade. While they assessed the countries' relations as excellent, the delegations were unable to avoid the controversial Croatian fishing regulations.

The maritime boundary between the two countries has been a major sticking point in recent years. Slovenians voted in June 2010 to send the issue of ownership of the Bay of Piran to international arbitration.

In the past, Croatia has called for the bay to be divided using strict equidistance, but Slovenia has protested, as this would severely restrict its navigational ability because of its shorter coastline.

Slovenia, an EU member since 2004, had threatened to block Croatia's EU membership until the dispute was resolved.

Sources: STA, B92,

For more information on the Slovenia-Croatia maritime boundary dispute, see the Menas Borders website, here.

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