Slovenian, Croatian FMs discuss economic zones in Adriatic Sea

Zagreb – The foreign ministers of Slovenia and Croatia, Anže Logar and Gordan Grlić Radman, assessed after their talks in Zagreb on Friday that they had managed to raise the Slovenian-Croatian relations to a higher level in the past ten months. The talks focussed on Croatia’s exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea, and included the border arbitration.

“The talks were largely dedicated to the future activities as part of trilateral talks among Italy, Croatia and Slovenia on the northern Adriatic Sea and the declaring of the exclusive economic zones.

“I think all three countries have genuinely decided for the path of dialogue, where we will first identify the key issues together and then find answers in dialogue and mutual understanding,” Logar said at a press conference in Zagreb.

He said that in the past ten months, the relations between Slovenia and Croatia had been raised to a higher level.

“Croatia will declare this zone on 1 February and yet I am here a week before, visiting the minister, for a simple reason, because this is a matter of dialogue and joint looking for answers to the dilemmas raised by all three countries. I believe this cooperation will continue,” he said.

Asked whether the ministers also discussed the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration award today, Logar said that Slovenia’s view was known and that the government insisted on that view.

“This issue is connected to other topics highlighted, so it’s clear that when tackling individual issues, we’ll always return to the issue of the border. In that respect, this is a task for the two countries’ diplomacies where talks are under way and will be under way in the future as well,” he replied.

He reiterated that the public would be informed in more detail about this when a deal was reached but he refused to speculate when that might be.

Grlić Radman said that there was no need to go back in history, as the Croatian parliament had exited the arbitration agreement six years ago. He said he expected all issues that are in the interests of both countries and their citizens to be solved in the framework of European values and during both minister’s terms.

The Croatian minister also assessed that the Slovenian-Croatian relations had improved since Logar took over as foreign minister.

He sees today’s visit as a confirmation of the setting up of good relations, since Logar is the first Slovenian foreign minister to visit Croatia in nine years.

Grlić Radman said the pair had talked about ways to improve the situation at the Lendava/Mursko Središče and Dragonja/Kaštel border crossings and ways to make life easier for the people living in the border areas.

He thanked Logar for Slovenia’s support to Croatia’s membership in the Schengen zone, and called for support to Croatia’s proposal to have an information system aimed at strengthening the Schengen zone set up at the EU’s external border, meaning Croatia’s border with non-EU countries.

He announced Croatia’s support to Slovenia’s priorities during the country’s EU presidency in the second half of next year, which Logar presented today.

Logar started his visit in the Petrinja area, which was hit by a devastating earthquake at the end of December, to express condolences to the victims’ families and Slovenia’s readiness to help the neighbouring country in the case of natural disasters.