Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia/slovenia : Commission Takes Initiative to End Border Row

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/croatia/slovenia : Commission Takes Initiative to End Border Row

Article excerpt

With time running out fast, the European Commission is stepping up its pressure on Slovenia and Croatia to settle their border dispute as soon as possible to prevent further delay in Zagreb's accession negotiations. During his one-day visit to the capitals of Slovenia and Croatia, on 21 January, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn put forward an offer to both countries proposing his good offices to facilitate talks on the ongoing border row.

"In case both countries are interested in it, the Commission is ready to facilitate talks on the settlement of the border dispute," Rehn's spokesperson said, explaining the Commission's current stance. In response, both countries pledged to evaluate Rehn's proposal, without, however, giving any concrete indication as to when they will embark on talks.

"This is an opportunity to finally solve the border issue. It might take some time but now is the right moment for the two states to agree on this," Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor told journalists. He added, however, that Slovenia was not ready to unblock Croatia's EU accession negotiations until Zagreb withdrew documents presented to the Commission, which prejudge the solution of the border row.

Following Slovenia's decision in December to block Croatia's progress in opening and closing new chapters, the dispute over the border has reached a complete deadlock, with both parties sticking to their guns.

Meanwhile, the already tight time framework of Croatia's accession talks has been sliding fast, putting Zagreb's chances to conclude negotiations by the end of 2009 in a serious jeopardy. …

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