An end to the Croatia-Slovenia border dispute?

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is to release its ruling on the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia next week. The Slovenian government has announced that it will abide by the ruling. Croatia, however, says it doesn't feel obliged to observe it. Zagreb would offend not just Slovenia if it doesn't, commentators warn.

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Novi list (HR) /

International law must not be ignored

Under no circumstances should the government in Zagreb ignore the ruling, Novi list warns:

“Croatia will be entering unknown territory if it ignores or questions the ruling. Slovenia will depict Croatia as the one that breaks international law and puts up obstacles whenever it can, and it will be put under pressure by Slovenia's allies from the EU and all over the world. … Croatia is not a military power like Russia or an economic power like China and can't get away with ignoring international rules unpunished. For small countries like Croatia international laws and principles should be an important argument in international relations. After all they are their only protection against the despotism of the big and powerful. For this reason Croatia must not turn its back on international law.”

Večer (SI) /

Zagreb under pressure

Večer also warns Croatia about the consequences of failing to respect the tribunal's decision:

“As a member of the EU and Nato, the country stands to suffer a lot of damage over this case on the international stage. Because Croatia would face major political pressure for disobeying international law. After all, the arbitration tribunal is supposed to serve as a prototype for resolving numerous similar international disputes, above all on border issues, in the area of the former Yugoslavia. And Croatia is at the centre of many of these unresolved border issues.”