Slovenia may get two benefits from one sanction move

09:19, March 24, 2010      

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As its key court has sanctioned an international border arbitration accord, Slovenia may have prepared itself for shooting two birds with this one stone.

The Slovene Constitutional Court on Tuesday sanctioned the international arbitration accord concerning its borders with Croatia, paving the way for the parliamentary ratification that is needed for the accord to take effect.

Croatia has already ratified the accord signed in November last year by the two Balkan countries.

The international community, especially the European Union and the United States, has been urging the duo to solve the border dispute that arose immediately after the break-up of the then Yugoslavia in 1991.

The dispute left Slovenia landlocked as Croatia joined borders with Italy to cut off its access to the northern Adriatic bay at Piran.

The sanction by the constitutional court has also steadied the government for a non-binding referendum that is to be held to appease the opposition parties which blamed the arbitration accord as infringing upon Slovene sovereignty.

The opposition is fearing that should the international arbitration rule against Slovenia the landlocked country may lose direct access to high seas forever.

Past Slovene governments had insisted that Croatia recognize the Slovene access to the Piran bay.

Slovenia, itself a European Union member since 2004, has been blocking the accession talks by Croatia to join the 27-nation integration bloc.

The border dispute remained deadlocked until last November when Sweden, while serving the rotating presidency of the European Union, mediated the bitter neighbors into signing the international arbitration accord in Stockholm.

Though the clauses of the arbitration are not known yet, Slovenia has already seen potential benefits in it.

So has Croatia. It can now hope to see its latest round of accession talks with Brussels to pick up tempo and if all goes well it may soon jump on the wagon that left it in the cold in the union's last round of enlargement.

With a solution of the border dispute on the horizon, both the Slovene and Croatian governments have finally committed themselves to pushing for EU enlargement into the western Balkans.

Now the only rub against the EU encroachment on the Balkans is Serbia. Its strong opposition against its southern province of Kosovo being taken as an independent state has hindered the growth of Slovenia's confidence in regional affairs.

Source: Xinhua
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