Croatia - Slovenia

EC: Tuesday meeting opportunity to make progress on arbitration agreement

09.01.2012 u 15:05


The European Commission believes that the meeting of the foreign ministers of Croatia and Slovenia with the EU Enlargement Commissioner, to take place in Brussels on Tuesday, provides a good opportunity to make progress in implementing the border arbitration agreement between the two countries, European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said on Monday.

Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic will travel on Tuesday to Brussels, the first foreign destination on her schedule since she took office late last month, to meet with her Slovenian counterpart Samuel Zbogar and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.

Stano said the EC was not a party to the border arbitration agreement and that its role was to help the two countries implement it, which was why the EC did not want to reveal when it would submit a list of judges from which the two countries should choose three arbiters to sit on a tribunal to decide on the Croatian-Slovenian border dispute.

Under the agreement, the Slovenian-Croatian border line should be defined by a five-member tribunal. Croatia and Slovenia should each appoint one arbiter, and choose together the other three from a list of potential arbiters to be drawn up by the European Commission. In the event that Zagreb and Ljubljana fail to agree on the three nominees, they will be chosen by the president of the International Court of Justice.

The two countries have already nominated one arbiter each - Croatia has nominated Budislav Vukas and Slovenia Jernej Sekolec.

Both countries expect the EC to present them with its list of nominees for the arbitral tribunal, which it was to have done within a period of 15 days of the signing of the Accession Treaty between Croatia and the EU on December 9. The EC believes that the 15-day deadline within which agreement should be reached on the composition of the arbitral tribunal starts running from the moment it submits its list of potential arbiters.

Minister Pusic said on Saturday that she and Zbogar had informed Fuele in writing that they expected to be given a list of candidates for the arbitral tribunal at the Tuesday meeting.