Croatia has failed in its latest attempt to solve a border disagreement with Sovenia. This has been holding up negotiations on Croatia joining the EU.
Slovenia — already a member of the bloc — will not let the process continue until it gets direct access to international waters in the northern Adriatic. The dispute dates from the 1991 break-up of Yugoslavia.
Going into the talks in Luxembourg, the EU’s Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, would not venture odds for a swift conclusion. He said: “I certainly hope that we could soon complete and conclude the process. It is really the moment of truth now and we should all try to settle this before the Council.” Asked if he was optimistic, he replied: “We will try it.”
Croatia hopes it can finish its EU entry talks this year, to become a member by 2011, but Zagreb has so far closed only seven of the 33 negotiating chapters.
Croatia wants to put the border case before the International Court of Justice, while Slovenia views EU mediation as the better way.