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JUNE 23 2009 21:08h

Slovenia Blocks Another Croatian Chapter

Slovene Prime Minister Borut Pahor

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Slovenia blocked the closing of the Statistics chapter in Croatian talks, totalling 13 blocked chapters in Croatia’s talks with the EU.

ZAGREB, CROATIA – Slovenia on Tuesday blocked the closing of yet another chapter in Croatia’s accession negotiations with the EU, totalling 13 blocked chapters, European diplomatic sources told the Croatian news agency Hina. 

At a meeting of a task force for enlargement on Tuesday, Slovenia did not give a geren light for the closing of the Statistics chapter, giving the same justification as with the rest of the blocked chapters – the prejudging of the border.

There was hope that the chapter could be closed at an inter-governmental accession conference scheduled for this Friday, but which is now in question because no chapter can now be closed because of Slovenia’s blockade.

The Czech presidency announced that it would make a decision on the accession conference on Wednesday, after a session of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) at which the situation of Croatia’s negotiations will be discussed.

Pahor: Slovenia’s persistence paid off

After consultations with the presidents of most parties about relations with Croatia and the events of last week related to Rehn’s proposal, Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor said on Tuesday that it paid off for Slovenia to persist on the initiative of the European Commission and that he would suggest that the mediation process continues.

- Today’s meeting is a clear signal that the approach Slovenian politics had has paid off. The message of today’s meeting is that the process continues because we have come a long way – he said.

- Slovenia wants accession negotiations with the European Union to continue, but at the same time, it is warning that Slovenia did not cause the problems, but Croatia did, with its maps sent to Brussels as part of accession documents because they prejudge the border – Pahor said.

He added that it would be a shame to withdraw from the process that has been lasting for half a year.

- Slovenia will suggest to the European Commission that the process continues – he said.