The European Commission on January 3 called on European Union member states Slovenia and Croatia to continue bilateral talks on the arbitration ruling in the maritime border dispute between the two countries.

As reported by the B92 online, however, Croatia’s Foreign Minister Marija Pejcinovic-Buric has insisted that the border line with Slovenia was established in 1991.

“The border line with Slovenia was established in 1991. And therefore nothing happened on the ground. This is without a doubt about Croatian territory and no Slovenian laws can be implemented on the territory of Croatia,” Pejcinovic told RTL.

That would, she continued, mean “changing or attempting to make a change on the ground by force, and this is by no means permitted under international law”.

Asked how Croatia would respond to that, the minister said that Croatia would “protect itself by all means at its disposal”.

“All of our services control our state territory according to their jurisdiction, and the police… is protecting our fishermen,” she said.

Pejcinovic stressed that Croatia considers the Hague-based court’s arbitration decision cannot be implemented unilaterally, and repeated the invitation to Slovenia to return to dialogue.

As for Slovenia, the Associated Press noted that the country – despite opposition from Croatia – will start implementing the international arbitration ruling made in June. The ruling grants Slovenia unhindered access to the Adriatic Sea, among other things.