APRIL 24 2009 13:58h
I am scared that every side interprets Rehn`s proposal its own way and that the main issues will remain outstanding.
Croatia praises the proposal of European Union expansion commissioner Olli Rehn, because it might soon lift Slovenia`s bloc of Croatian EU accession talks. It is interpreted as a diplomatic success, as some of Croatian principles have been won – solving the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia with international law.
On the other hand, Slovene Foreign Affairs Minster Samuel Zbogar is convinced that the proposal actually does not separate, but links the border dispute with the continuation of Croatia`s EU accession talks.
Various interpretation of the proposal
President of the Slovene association June 25 Institute Marjan Podobnik sees the contradictory interpretations of Rehn`s proposal as well. According to him, this might cause new troubles in solving the border dispute.
- I talked to people who are studying Rehn`s proposal and every person gave me different information. My assessment is that the main purpose of Rehn`s proposal is to please both sides and it was written so that both sides can interpret it their own way. I am scared that every side has its interpretation of the proposal and that the main issues will remain outstanding – Marjan Podobnik told us.
Pahor is not dissatisfied with the proposal
Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader and his Slovene counterpart Borut Pahor were scheduled to meet a week after the proposal was presented, at Trakoscan castle, however, the meeting was cancelled. This move might be interpreted as Pahor`s dissatisfaction with Rehn`s proposal for resolving the border dispute, but Podobnik convinces that this is not the real reason.
- PM Pahor has made a smart move. If he had attended the meeting with Sanader before consulting with parliamentary parties regarding Rehn`s latest proposal, he would have been in a tight spot. What is more, Pahor has a positive outlook on the proposal – Podobnik said.
Referendum still possible
Podobnik is convinced that Slovenia will agree to Rehn`s proposal, but that there will be plenty of conditions and additions in their response. However, he did not dismiss the option of a referendum being carried out in case Slovene national interests are threatened.
- A referendum might happen, but I personally don`t think so, because I believe that the government will find a way to protect national interests, which are contact with international waters and the integrity of Piran Bay – Podobnik, who was the initiator of the first referendum claim which fell through, believes.