To patch up troubled borders, Croatia has accepted a European Union offer to mediate in a dispute with Slovenia. However, this would only be to prepare to present the case before an international court. The argument over a small stretch of Croatia’s and Slovenia’s land and sea border dates from the break-up of Yugoslavia.
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, after coordinating a “national consensus” with the leaders of all Croatia’s political parties, said they expected accession talks with the EU to be unblocked as soon as the EU mediation commission starts work. Because of the border row, EU member Slovenia since December has prevented Croatia’s EU membership negotiations from going ahead. Slovenia, between Italy and Croatia, wants direct access to international waters in the northern Adriatic. This would require Croatia to relax its claim on some offshore waters. There are also conflicting claims to four villages in the northern Istrian peninsula. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has proposed Nobel Peace laureate Martti Ahtisaari as the EU mediator. Rehn plans to meet the Croatian and Slovenian foreign ministers in Brussels this Tuesday.