Croatia and Slovenia border dispute.
The row, which commentators in both states have referred to (perhaps dramatically) as a ‘bloodless war, focuses primarily on the disputed Bay of Piran, a 20sq km bay which lies between the two neighbours. The ownership of several border villages is also contentious: the Dragonja River, traditionally the dividing line between Croatia and Slovenia, was re-routed after the Second World War, thus putting some Slovene villages in Croat territory.
The Piran Bay Issue
The Piran Bay issue is critical for Slovenia since access to the bay is its only means of a sea link to the outside world. If Croatia exercised its right to an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) extending out from its side of the Bay, Slovenia would have no legal channel to the Adriatic Sea. This would hamper Slovenia’s shipping industry, which is vital to maintaining its strong economic performance. The EEZ and the related ecological zone which would also encroach on what Slovenia views as its own sovereign territory, in particular with regard to fishing rights.
Resolution of the dispute by an arbitration tribunal
On 25 May 2011 Croatia and Slovenia submitted their arbitration agreement to the UN, a necessary step before the arbitration process could begin. The treaty specifies that the arbitration process will happen after UN registration and Croatia's signing of its accession into the European Union. "It has been decided that an ad-hoc arbitral tribunal will be used to resolve the outstanding disputes. It is now believed that with the submission of the agreement to the UN that the arbitration tribunal could begin within a year, but is expected to take at least three years to reach a decision that will be binding upon each country."
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