The European Commission on Tuesday asked Slovenia and Croatia to “implement” a ruling that gave Ljubljana key access to international waters off the Croatian coast, a decision rejected by Zagreb.

“The Commission has taken note of the final decision and is waiting for the two parties to implement it,” First Vice-President Frans Timmermans told a press conference in Strasbourg, EurActiv reports.

Timmermans “applauded” the fact the two countries are due to meet next week, adding that the willingness of the two prime ministers to discuss the issue “is a good sign”.

“The Commission hopes the prime ministers will find common ground on the best way to implement the decision,” he said.

International arbitration court ruled that Slovenia should have uninterrupted access to international waters, allowing “freedom of communication” to all ships seeking access to the country.

Croatia has rejected an international tribunal’s border ruling that gave neighbouring Slovenia access to international waters just off Croatia’s coast, in a move that might create new obstacles for future EU enlargement in the Balkans.