AUGUST 23 2013 21:02h
"The European Commission has never discussed this topic, however, our minister (Orsat Miljenic) will answer the letter by the European Commissioner. One thing is certain, the cabinet will not be making decisions on the matter in the next few weeks," Milanovic said at a news conference after he held a trilateral working meeting with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek.
This matter is not being discussed in Europe, and Chancellor Faymann has quite accidentally learnt about that. The European Arrest Warrant is an exception as it is applied differently. Austria, as an old member (of the European Union), is eligible for exemptions (time limits), while Croatia and Slovenia are not entitled. Croatia is not trying to dodge the warrant, and it respects the EAW, but it will request a discussion on the mater to be held by the European Council," Milanovic said.
He promised that Croatia would work patiently on this issue, but also on reasonable lobbying that the EAW be equally applied in all EU member-states.
A deadline by which Zagreb is expected to reply to the European Commission's question about when it plans to align Croatia's law on the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) with European legislation expires at midnight on Friday, but no information as to whether a reply has been sent to Brussels could be obtained at the Justice Ministry by 2 pm.
In late June, Croatia passed a law dubbed Lex Perkovic whereby it limits the application of the EAW to crimes committed after August 2002.
In a letter to Justice Minister Orsat Miljenic at the end of July, European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding wrote that what Croatia did on June 28 by amending said law was not in accordance with European legislation and that it should be corrected.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said there was still no formal decision on the matter but that she expected the law to be changed soon.
"There is no formal decision yet, but a solution will be found and Croatia will certainly function in accordance with the obligations undertaken regarding the application of the European Arrest Warrant," she said.
Pusic announced that the government would certainly reply to the European Commission by midnight on August 23, but added that "the definite steps certainly won't be finished" by then.
"There is no doubt that Croatia will adjust its legislation to the European standards, as envisaged by the treaty, however, the entire job cannot be done by Friday," the foreign minister told the national television (HTV) late Wednesday evening.
She reassured that Croatia would function in line with EU standards.
Asked whether the Croatian government decided in the meantime to amend the contentious law, which was passed on 28 June, and abolish the time limit to which Croatia would apply the EAW, Pusic said that the rule of no time limit was applied to all EU entrants that joined the Union after 2002.