CJEU Case C-457/18 | Slovenia v Croatia

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Series Details C-457/18
Publication Date 2018-2020
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Judgment from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on its jurisdiction to rule on a border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia.

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In order to resolve an outstanding issue relating to the establishment of their common borders following the proclamation of their respective independence in the 1990s, Croatia and Slovenia concluded an arbitration agreement in November 2009. Under that agreement - which became effective a year later - the two countries undertook to submit this dispute to the arbitral tribunal established by the agreement, whose award would be binding on them. The tribunal was established in 2012. Following a procedural issue that arose before that tribunal, Croatia later took the view that the tribunal's ability to make an award independently and impartially had been compromised. In July 2015, Croatia informed Slovenia that the latter was considered guilty of material breaches of the arbitration agreement and thus decided to terminate that same agreement.

The arbitral tribunal nevertheless decided on the continuation of the proceeding and made an arbitration award in June 2017, by which it defined the sea and land borders between the two countries. Croatia did not execute that arbitration award. In July 2018 Slovenia brought an action for failure to fulfil obligations before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). On 11 December 2019, the Court's Advocate General issued the Opinion that the CJEU does not have jurisdiction to rule on an international boundary dispute that falls outside the scope of EU law. The Advocate General considered that the infringements of EU law of which Slovenia accused Croatia were subsidiary to the issue of determining the border between the two countries, which is a matter of public international law. On 31 January 2020, the Court of Justice took the same view, but also argued that the Member States are required to strive sincertely to bring about a definitive legal solution to the dispute.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
Euro|topics, June 2018: Border dispute: Slovenia to sue Croatia https://www.eurotopics.net/en/201414/

Balkan Insight, 18/06/2018: EU Stays Out of Croatia-Slovenia Border Dispute https://balkaninsight.com/2018/06/18/ek-remains-neutral-on-croatia-slovenia-border-arbitration-dispute-06-18-2018/
Reuters, 18/06/2018: Slovenia to sue fellow EU member Croatia over border ruling https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1JE1PP
Total Croatia News, 18/09/2018: EU Explains Its Neutrality in Croatia-Slovenia Border Dispute https://www.total-croatia-news.com/politics/31093-eu-explains-its-neutrality-in-croatia-slovenia-border-dispute
Total Slovenia News, 13/07/2019: Slovenia, Croatia Attend ECJ for Border Arbitration Hearing https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/politics/4090-slovenia-croatia-attend-ecj-for-border-arbitration-hearing
Bloomberg, 11/12/2019: Croatia-Slovenia Border Spat May Not Be Solved at EU Court https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-12-11/croatia-slovenia-border-spat-may-not-get-resolved-at-eu-court
Reuters, 11/12/2019: EU court should not intervene in Croatia/Slovenia border dispute: adviser https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1YF0WX
Total Croatia News, 12/12/2019: Opinion of Advocate General as Step Toward Agreement with Slovenia https://www.total-croatia-news.com/politics/40205-slovenia
EurActiv, 12/12/2019: EU court ‘should not intervene’ in Croatia-Slovenia border dispute https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-court-should-not-intervene-in-croatia-slovenia-border-dispute/
Balkan Insight, 31/01/2020: EU Court Denies Jurisdiction Over Slovenia-Croatia Border Dispute https://balkaninsight.com/2020/01/31/eu-court-denies-jurisdiction-over-slovenia-croatia-border-dispute/
EurActiv, 31/01/2020: Top EU court says ‘no juridiction’ over Croatia-Slovenia border row https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/top-eu-court-says-no-juridiction-over-croatia-slovenia-border-row/
Reuters, 31/01/2020: EU court will not intervene in Croatia-Slovenia border dispute https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN1ZU105
Total Slovenia News, 31/01/2020: EU Court Rules Slovenia-Croatia Border Lawsuit Inadmissible, Calls for International Law to Be Respected https://www.total-slovenia-news.com/politics/5519-eu-court-rules-slovenia-croatia-border-lawsuit-inadmissible-calls-for-international-law-to-be-respected
Total Croatia News, 03/02/2020: Slovenia: Talks with Croatia Possible Only on Implementation of Border Arbitration Ruling https://www.total-croatia-news.com/politics/41248-border-arbitration

CJEU CURIA: Case C-457/18 | Slovenia v Croatia http://curia.europa.eu/juris/documents.jsf?num=C-457/18
CJEU: Press Release, 11/12/2019: Opinion of the Advocate General in the case C-457/18 Slovenia v Croatia https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_2677458/en/
CJEU: Press Release, 31/01/2020: Judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-457/18 Slovenia v Croatia https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_2806562/en/

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