Slovenia and Croatia argue over Adriatic Sea

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When Slovenia and Croatia were part of Yugoslavia, internal borders didn't matter much. But now eight years after their independence, Croatia and Slovenia are still trying to work out where their border should lie. And now Croatia says it wants to create an exclusive economic zone in the eastern part of the Adriatic - a proposal not welcomed by the Slovenian government

In Slovenia, the news was accepted with reservation at first due to pre-election preparations in Croatia. In election campaigns, news like this is often used in order to win votes. However, as the Croatian Foreign Office too announced it was considering the economic zone more activity sprung up between Ljubljana and Zagreb.

Slovenia strongly opposes a one-sided decision, a decision made only by Croatia without agreements with the neighbouring countries. The Slovene Foreign Office stated in a note Slovenia always had access to the high seas and has never renounced this right. The potential announcement of an exclusive economic zone could ban Slovenia from the high seas and the fishing in international waters, which is of great importance for Slovene fishing and it's industry. Mr Vojko Maver Director of Delamaris in Izola

"Theoretically this could mean that our fishermen would not be allowed to fish in open sea areas anymore."

Is it possible that a decision be made by one side alone?

"As the boarder between Croatia and Slovenia is not determined, an exclusive economic zone cannot be considered. Such an economic zone can only be introduced by an agreement between Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, and other countries bordering the Adriatic Sea. Croatia cannot make this decision unilaterally."

Whilst Slovene politicians hope that Croatian politicians are simply using this issue for their election campaign, Slovene Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel and Minister of Agriculture Franci But sent a request to the European Commissioner Franz Fischler to give his point of view on this issue. While the ministers are waiting for the Commissioner's answer they are aware of the fact that the European Union does not support one-sided solutions preferring agreements made by all parties. Surprisingly no politicians from Slovenia or Croatia have made any public statements on this issue and it has been brought to public notice by Milo Djukanovič, the Prime minister of Montenegro, who was recently on holiday Slovenia.

"We want participate actively in any negotiations regarding the future of this maritime area. This is the right of every country with a coastline bordering the Adriatic Sea."