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Brussels did not reply to whether Slovenia was correctly implementing the new rules and whether there were also problems at any other border crossings. Foto: BoBo

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Slovenia reminds Croatia of Schengen rules

Croatia writes to Brussels because of border traffic delays
20. April 2017 ob 20:30
Ljubljana/Zagreb/Brussels - MMC RTV SLO

The President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, wrote a letter to the presidents of three EU institutions – the EU Commission, the EU Council, and the European Parliament – Mr. Juncker, Mr. Tusk and Mr. Tajani. In the letter she expressed her discontent because of the recent traffic delays on the Slovenian-Croatian border.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović called on the three presidents to come up with a solution which would enable the free flow of people and goods across the border. She also did not fail to try connect the traffic delays with the border arbitration procedure. Brussels' response was that it was in contact with all of EU's member states in order to implement the new directive on systemic border checks in the best and least disruptive of ways.

The Croatian president warned that Slovenia's implementation of the new rules caused several-hour long traffic delays, and that Croatians have the impression that this is Slovenia's payback for Croatia's position on the border arbitration process. Such Slovenian measures would – according to Grabar-Kitarović – deter Europeans from spending their summer holidays in Croatia.

The EU Commission did not want to comment the letter in detail, but it did reiterate that a meeting between the commission and member states on the implementation of the new regulations did take place last week, and that there will be another meeting next week as well.

"We're in constant contact with all of the member states in order to implement the new directive in the most efficient manner so that normal traffic flows will not have to suffer any consequences," said EU spokesowman Tove Ernst. Possible exemptions to the rules, in which systematic checks would temporarily be replaced by targeted checks, are being discussed. Any exemption should be based on risk assessment.

Regarding the Croatian president's comments that the announcements made by Slovenia's politicians that Slovenia could take measures against Croatia because of its position on the arbitration proceedings were coming true, EU Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva replied that: " ...you know our position. In principle we support such arbitration proceedings. "

Brussels did not reply to whether Slovenia was correctly implementing the new rules and whether there were also problems at any other border crossings.

Tove said she had no additional information about other parts of the external border, and that talks on the issue were taking place.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec expressed regret over the Croatian letter. He strongly rejected allegations that Slovenia was to blame for the long cue of vehicles, adding that it was only honoring the new Schengen directive. He also rejected any connection between the arbitration proceedings and hints that he was now fulfilling his threats of blocking tourists because of the border arbitration process. He said his comments from the past were taken out of context.

Erika Štular, Radio Slovenija; translated by K. J.