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Slovenian referendum: MEP Hökmark welcomes green light for border agreement with Croatia

The decision by the Slovenian people in this weekend’s referendum to back international arbitration of the border dispute with Croatia was welcomed on Monday by Gunnar Hökmark, chair of the EP Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee. 

“The agreement reached through EU-sponsored talks during the Swedish presidency, and the ratification of the agreement, is an example to the whole of South-Eastern Europe that neighbour-to-neighbour disagreements can be resolved if leaders have the political will to do so”, said Mr Hökmark. At a time when most Western Balkan countries are failing to address serious obstacles on the way to EU membership, Croatia is setting a good example, he added.

The border dispute, which has lasted for 19 years since the break-up of the Yugoslav federation, had become a major political issue in both countries, considerably delaying Croatia’s negotiations to join the EU.

Mr Hökmark reiterated Parliament’s wish to see Croatia join the Union in 2012, while stressing that key issues have yet to be settled, such as the failure to improve cooperation with the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) and the sensitive issue of state aid to Croatian shipyards.