Croatia has accepted an EU proposal to use international arbitration to settle a border dispute with Slovenia.
But Ljubljana says it is unhappy with the plan put forward by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn. In Zagreb, President Stjepan Mesic said the proposal had cross-party support. It could put an end to the dispute which dates back to the 1991 break-up of the former Yugoslavia. “We have discussed our views and we will inform Olli Rehn in the next 24 hours. Essentially, we are accepting this proposal”, Mesic told reporters. Slovenia wants direct access to international waters in the Northern Adriatic. The row has held up Croatia’s EU accession talks because Slovenia, a bloc member, has vetoed their progress. Slovenia is reportedly unhappy because the plan separates talks about the sea and land borders. It also stipulates that Ljubljana lifts its veto as soon as both sides agree to mediation. Diplomats say unless the dispute is resolved quickly, Croatia could miss its goal of joining the EU within two years.