Ljubljana – In its Saturday front-page commentary, the newspaper Delo criticises the government for trying to strike a fisheries agreement with Croatia shortly before the election and the state’s attitude to fishermen in general.
The piece headlined Politicians Friends, Fishermen Enemies quotes a representative of Slovenian fishermen in saying that no one has sought their opinion about solutions: “It is more important they [the politicians] show themselves as great friends, while at the same time they find it even better if we fight each other.”
It is clear to fishermen that three weeks ahead of the election it is impossible to come up with a magic solution and the “intangible fishing agreement is meant only for the see-through pre-election moment”.
The paper notes that back in 2001 the then prime ministers, Janez Drnovšek and Ivica Račan, agreed a border demarcation that would give Slovenia a contact with the open seas and 260 sq kilometres of sea, the 2017 arbitration award left Slovenia with 210 sq km of sea and no contact, while the “Croats decided to take away another 44 sq km awarded to Slovenia through arbitration. The difference between one fishery and the other is more than obvious.
“There is almost nothing wrong with Croatia taking care of its fisheries. What is wrong is that Slovenia has not taken care of its own. An yet with three weeks to go to the election, it has the audacity of making a show of the supposed effectiveness of special quiet diplomacy and the government.
“The Foreign Ministry has no scruple to say that the arbitration award is final and binding, even though all the Croatian messages, including the latest one following the meeting with Plenković, are clear: as far as Croatia is concerned there has been no arbitration award for five years, so we are looking for a different solution. Has Plenković not yet told Janša this? Who is taking who for a fool here?”