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EU Council Urges Croatia not to Apply the Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone to EU Member States

The General Affairs and External Relations Council unanimously and without discussion endorsed conclusions on Croatia’s Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone in the Adriatic. On the basis of its December Council conclusions, the Council urges Croatia to fully respect the agreement of 4 June 2004 and not to apply any aspect of the zone to the EU Member States until a common agreement in the EU spirit is found. The Council calls on Croatia to live up to its commitments in this regard. The Council will return to this matter at a forthcoming meeting, and invites the Commission to continue its dialogue with the Croatian authorities and report back to the Council.

The zone issue was also included in the decision on the principles, priorities and conditions to be applied in the accession partnership with Croatia, adopted last week by the EU Council. This document reiterates the need for Croatia to fully respect the agreement of 4 June 2004, referred to in the June 2004 European Council conclusions and the negotiations framework, and not to apply the zone to the EU Member States until consensus can be reached in the spirit of the EU.

This appeal is also included in the key priorities contained in the introduction, which further refers to bilateral issues: Croatia should find definitive solutions to border issues with Slovenia, Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the adoption of Council conclusions at today’s meeting, GAERC President and Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel stated that this issue is vital to Croatia’s accession to the EU. “This was also discussed at my meeting with Croatian Foreign Minister Jandroković ten days ago,” Minister Rupel said, and called on Croatia to react. Minister Rupel also explained that Slovenia strongly supports the ecological protection of the Adriatic. It is always willing to talk and negotiate, together with the EU and Italy and other countries sharing the Adriatic. “The recent incident along the Istrian coast warned us that this is indeed a serious issue and that we should jointly endeavour to protect the Adriatic,” Minister Rupel concluded.


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Date: 22.02.2008