Croatia’s intention to join the European Union (EU) is blocked by Slovenia, which is currently a member to EU. The reason for that is the pending border dispute between the two States. Slovenia insists that it will not vote for Croatia’s membership to the EU until the border dispute has been resolved.
Croatia and Slovenia were formerly part of the communist Yugoslav, which declared independent in 1991. When those two States were under Yugoslav, border was not an issue at all. However, since they emerged into independent States, border issue came into play. The two neighboring States have both land and maritime boundaries to settle.
In Croatia’s opinion, political issues should not have been raised in relation to an intention of a State to be a member of EU. However, Slovenia has a different view, that a current member of EU can raise any political issues that is viewed to jeopardize the interest of EU or a particular State member. In addition the two also had different views regarding the way to settle the dispute. Slovenia, supported by the EU commissioner, Olli Rehn, prefer mediation to solve the dispute. Former Finnish President, who is also the Peace Nobel prize winner in 2008, Martti Ahtisaari has been asked for the mediator. However, Croatia views that the dispute should be brought before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands.
A spatial issue is that Slovenia has only a short and concave coast. This may be a disadvantage for Slovenia since the maritime boundary delimited between Slovenia and Croatia may prevent it from having access to the high seas. One key point proposed by Slovenia is that the future maritime boundary between Croatia and Slovenia should guarantee its access to the high sea. At the time of writing, the two States have not yet reached any conclusion. Let’s see how the case develops. One thing for sure, border does matter!
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