Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejcinovic-Buric says the border line with Slovenia was established in 1991.

She was speaking in the context of the international arbitration ruling in the maritime border dispute with Slovenia that Croatia rejects, and Slovenia intends to implement.

“The border line with Slovenia was established in 1991. And therefore nothing happened on the ground. This is, without a doubt, Croatian territory and no Slovenian laws can be implemented on the territory of Croatia,” Pejcinovic told RTL.

That would, she continued, mean “changing or attempting to make a change on the ground by force, and this is by no means permitted under international law.”

Asked how Croatia would respond to that, the minister said that Croatia would “protect itself by all means at its disposal.”

“All of our services control our state territory according to their jurisdiction, and the police (…) is protecting our fishermen,” she said.

Pejcinovic pointed out that Croatia still thinks The Hague-based court’s arbitration decision cannot be implemented unilaterally, and repeated the invitation to Slovenia to return to dialogue.

Slovenian threats of imposing fines of up to EUR 40,000 on Croatian fishermen she considers “completely inappropriate, meaningless and impossible.”

“We think that at this stage it is not good to incite incidents. We will not undertake anything unilaterally, we pleaded and asked the Slovenian side to do the same. We hope that it will remain at that,” she said, noting that “nothing has happened yet could be declared a unilateral incident.”

The minister also said she hoped the dispute with Slovenia would be resolved “by Croatia’s EU presidency in 2020.”

B92