Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec threatened to sue Croatia on February 8 if they failed to implement the arbitration ruling on their border dispute, according to Total Croatia News. In summer 2017, Croatia rejected a ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration stating that Slovenia should have direct access to international waters in the northern Adriatic Sea using a corridor that crosses Croatian waters.
Total Croatia News also wrote that Erjavec stated that any violation of the arbitrator’s decision could be a “violation of international law and the law of the European Union.”
According to Serbian news station B92, the issue began when Croatian policemen intervened on behalf of Croatian fishermen in an area of the Adriatic Sea that is disputed between Slovenia and Croatia. Slovenia asserts it has a right to access international waters, a claim which may infringe on Croatian territorial waters. The arbitration process began in 2009 but entered the final phase in summer 2017.
Erjavec has threatened legal action since December 2017, according to Total Croatia News. The Slovenia Times writes that the legal process could take months due to the length of time it takes the European Commission to investigate legal violations. At first, the Commission attempts mediation, and, if that fails, they proceed to an EU court. Total Croatia News writes that a potential solution is for the two countries to sign a bilateral agreement that derives from the original arbitration agreement.
Both governments are under international pressure to comply, but Slovenia’s upcoming elections could endanger a true resolution.