We have offered negotiations to Slovenians, but they have not yet responded

(...) Sending each other notes is no good. As regards Slovenia sharing our views on extending the jurisdiction in the Adriatic, it does not have to be included if it does not want to, but instead of arguing about who wants and who does not want to negotiate, we should just start negotiating. As regards the Adriatic, there are more common interests between us and Slovenia than differences. One of our common interests is the protection of the fish fund and the ecological resources of the Adriatic. After all, if Croatia does declare an economic zone, in a few years, when both Croatia and Slovenia will be a part of the EU, the Adriatic will be a part of the common waters, and fishing will be conducted according to quotas.

Q: We have agreed with the Italians to set up a joint mixed commission that will consider all of the question regarding the declaration of the economic zone. Has something similar been proposed to the Slovenians? European Commission officials are coming in September. A: We have offered them the beginning of August as the start of negotiations, but that did not suit them. Now we have offered them a slot from 15-19 September, but they still have not responded. We definitely want to negotiate, because we believe such sensitive issues should be solved directly through bilateral talks, and not by sending notes and needlessly heating up the atmosphere.

Q: So, regardless of Slovenia’s position, Croatia will not give up trying to negotiate over the economic zone? A: In September, the European Commission officials are coming to Croatia to talk about our position and intentions. We will keep negotiating with Italy and will stay open to negotiations with Slovenia and any other country that shows concern for the Adriatic. We will continue with our agenda of meetings, for the purposes of monitoring the so-called “common fishing policy of the EU,” during which time we have realised that we will best defend our interests through extending Croatia’s jurisdiction on the Adriatic. Everybody can win However, this does not mean that we want to do this at somebody else’s expense. We are prepared to negotiate with all of the interested parties and find a solution that will satisfy everyone. I will repeat once again – it is wrong to consider our intentions as something that means loss to somebody else, as this is a situation where everybody can win, if we only sat down and talked about it.

Q: One of Slovenia’s arguments is that Croatia should wait with the declaration of the economic zone until the maritime borders are set. Also, from their last note it is obvious that they are still quoting the compromise solution on state border from 2001, the initialled Drnovšek-Račan agreement, which mentions the “actual and immediate territorial egress to the open sea.” Does this mean that Slovenia refuses to move from its position and will not accept any solution? A: Croatia is not obliged to solve the border issue with Slovenia as a prerequisite for expanding its jurisdiction over the Adriatic. As regards the initialled agreement, it is just a piece of paper with no real effect. It has neither been signed, nor ratified. We are prepared to negotiate with Slovenia, but these arguments are unfounded. We do not want a protest note war So, to sum this up, Croatia has offered Slovenia negotiations, and now it is up to them? We are open to negotiations. We do not want this to turn into a protest note war, because we think that if we sat down and talked, we would find a lot of common interests, and there where our interests are not he same, we could seek solutions that would be acceptable to both sides.