Magazine article Europe-East

Enlargement : Eu Calls on Zagreb Not to Enforce Adriatic Protection Zone

Magazine article Europe-East

Enlargement : Eu Calls on Zagreb Not to Enforce Adriatic Protection Zone

Article excerpt

The European Union reiterated its call on Croatia not to enforce the recently activated special ecological and fisheries protection zone (ZERP) in the Adriatic. Speaking on the sidelines of the first meeting between the European Commission and the Slovenian government, which currently holds the EU's six-month Presidency, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear that a political solution between Croatia, Italy and Slovenia is still possible provided that Zagreb does not enforce the new legislation. "On condition that Croatia will not enforce the zone, we'll try to find a political solution. Otherwise, it would have consequences on [EU] accession negotiations," Rehn said on 8 January in Ljubljana.

Rehn's statement was echoed by Slovenia, which has been holding the reins of the European Union since 1 January. Speaking at a press conference the same day in Ljubljana, the Slovenian Foreign Affairs Minister, Dimitrij Rupel, called on Croatia to amend its decision on the zone's proclamation taken by the parliament in Zagreb in 2003 as soon as the new government and parliament are in place and warned that otherwise the country's EU membership bid might be negatively affected. He suggested that Croatia should go for a "multilateral" approach, involving the main stakeholders: Italy, Slovenia and the European Commission. In conclusion, Rupel underlined that his tough line does not change the fact that Slovenia is fully in favour of Croatia's EU accession.

In a bid to protect endangered Adriatic Sea fishing stocks, Croatia has activated its special ecological and fisheries zone covering an area of some 57,000 square kilometres with effect on 1 January. …

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