Slovenians opt for agreement with Croatia

According to the preliminary results of the referendum, the border arbitrage agreement with Croatia was accepted by a majority of Slovenians who voted.

The incomplete results show that the turnout was at 42.27 percent, while the agreement was supported by 51.48 percent.

Slovenians were deciding whether they were in favor of a law on ratification of the arbitrage agreement between the Slovenian and Croatian governments, which was passed by the parliament in Ljubljana in April.

The 20-year-old border dispute concerns primarily the Bay of Piran.

Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor said after the closing of the polling stations that a high turnout in the referendum would give legitimacy to the decision if the majority of Slovenians were in favor of the arbitrage agreement.

Leader of the main opposition party and former PM Janez Janša said that the result of the referendum was already known and that it was “a cut-up Slovenian people”.

“Slovenians should never be divided on that issue, no government was supposed to cause that,” he stressed.

The results of the referendum are closely monitored by Zagreb and the EU in Brussels where EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele is expected to issue an announcement.

Meanwhile in Croatia, Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor stated that she did not wish to speculate about the result of the Slovenian referendum because it was the country’s internal issue, but added that she had already spoken with the Slovenian PM who confirmed that “nothing would block Croatia’s further negotiations with the EU”.

Kosor also said that Croatian negotiations with the EU were separated from the border issue.

At the same time Slovenia’s national television reported that Croatian President Ivo Josipović said that he “had faith in our friends the Slovenians” and that the referendum would confirm the Slovenian parliament’s decision.

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