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Balkanization Of The Euro-Atlantic Accession Process

Disputed Bay of Piran
Disputed Bay of Piran
Slovenia, the success story of Balkan integration efforts, is attempting to slow down Croatia's bids to join the EU and NATO.

In December 2008, the Slovenian government blocked 11 chapters of Croatia's EU bid, ostensibly because of a disagreement over their land and sea borders.

But is the dispute such a big deal?

Fishing is not really being interrupted in the Piran Gulf -- the part of the Adriatic which the two countries dispute --and anyway, in a few years, once both countries are part of the EU, the borders will not be of any concern.

In reality, the dispute is more about how politics are played in Zagreb and Ljubljana.

Croatian President Stipe Mesic has said that Slovenians would be looking at the Adriatic from a distance of 20 kilometers had it not been for the Croatian Partizans who liberated Slovenia in World War II.

(It was an overstatement, of course, as Slovenians were part of the forces fighting fascism as well.)

And in Slovenia, even though the parliament recently ratified Croatia's and Albania's bid to join NATO, the decision could be overturned by right-wing parties.

They have collected enough signatures to re-open the issue in the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and are asking for a referendum.

If they do not get the desired response in parliament, they plan to continue collecting signatures in order to try to force a referendum that way.

With stability in the Balkans very much related to Euro-Atlantic integration, this Balkanization of international relations doesn't really help much.

-- Gordana Knezevic

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