Does Slovenia want European Commission to threaten Croatia with sanctions?
Date of publication: 21 07 2017, 12:40
Slovenian Foreign Minister Erjavec is a well-known hardliner.
Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said on Thursday that the European Commission should pressure Croatia to accept border arbitration decision, just like it has pressured Poland due to controversial judicial reform and has threatened it with sanctions, reports Jutarnji List on 21 July 2017.
“The Croatian case is similar to Poland, and now is the right moment for a reaction. If we wait too much, they will criticise us for waiting too long with implementation and for not reacting in time,” said Erjavec at the press conference.
The European Commission on Wednesday urged the Polish government to abandon the controversial Law on Supreme Court and threatened it with unprecedented sanctions if Warsaw did not stop the “obvious danger” for the rule of law.
Erjavec pointed out that he had already drafted a letter to the European Commission in which he would report that Croatia has violated the sovereignty of Slovenia and the Schengen Area in the Bay of Piran after the arbitrators granted Slovenia most of that bay and access to the open sea through Croatian territorial waters.
“I expect that Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar will authorise me in the following days to send this letter which I have already written to the Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans,” said Erjavec after a regular session of the Slovenian government which discussed the arbitration process and the implementation of the arbitration decision.
He added that he had the right to send the letter as the Foreign Minister, but added that he was waiting for the Prime Minister’s approval because he did not want to make it appear like there are disagreements about the issue in the coalition government. Erjavec is the president of the Democratic Party of Pensioners (DESUS), which has demanded a more decisive action from the Prime Minister in the last year of the government’s term so that voters would not have the impression that the party is indecisive.
The Slovenian Foreign Minister pointed out that the implementation of the arbitration decision on land and sea is not just a Slovenian-Croatian issue, but also an issue of the Schengen Area. Slovenia is a member of the Schengen Area, while Croatia is not. “The border at sea has now been defined, but Croatian vessels are invading the Slovenian sea all the time, which means they are entering the Schengen Area as well,” said Erjavec.
Responding to journalists’ questions, he did not rule out the possibility that the next Slovenian government might condition Croatia’s admission to the Schengen Area when the issue comes to a vote.