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Slovenia, Italy, Croatia sign joint statement on cooperation in Adriatic

On Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar hosted the foreign ministers of Croatia and Italy in Slovenia, and they talked about the strengthening of cooperation in the northern Adriatic. All three ministers – Anže Logar, Luigi Di Maio, and Gordan Grlić Radman – signed a joint agreement on trilateral cooperation between the three countries in the northern Adriatic. The cooperation was already announced by Logar in December, and as it turned out, the talks are continuing according to plan. “Today, we agreed on permanent cooperation. From now on, we will address all issues related to the protection of our interests – from connectivity to the blue economy and environmental protection – together,” Logar explained.

“A dialogue for common solutions that would benefit us all – that was the key idea of today’s trilateral meeting with Luigi Di Maio and Gordan Grlić Radman. We will continue in 2021. On all levels,” Foreign Minister Anže Logar announced via Twitter in December 2020, after a meeting in Trieste. Logar’s predictions turned out to be true as the aforementioned ministers continue to cooperate.

On Wednesday, Logar hosted the two foreign ministers in Brdo pri Kranju, and the purpose of the meeting was to continue the trilateral cooperation of the three EU coastal states in the northern Adriatic, which began on the 19th of December last year in Trieste.

At the press conference which followed the signing of the statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar said that he is very happy that the first stage of cooperation between the three countries in the northern Adriatic had now been completed, and regarding the signing of the trilateral agreement on cooperation in the northern Adriatic, he said: “Today, we agreed on permanent cooperation. From now on, we will address all issues related to the protection of our interests – from connectivity to the blue economy and environmental protection – together.” He also believes that the Adriatic Sea connects us all and also brings the responsibility of protecting it, which we should all do together.

The agreement also strengthens cooperation between the ports
The three foreign ministers took note of concrete proposals for cooperation, including enhanced cooperation between ports in the northern Adriatic and joint promotion of the Adriatic waterway. “The Adriatic Sea, as a semi-enclosed sea with a high maritime traffic density and a very sensitive ecosystem, requires the close cooperation of all three coastal states,” Logar stressed, who is also optimistic about further cooperation. He added that at the time of agreeing on a joint statement, all outstanding issues raised had been resolved.

The trilateral cooperation of the northern Adriatic countries began last year, with the concrete announcement of Croatia and Italy to declare their economic zones in the Adriatic Sea. Croatia and Italy also informed Slovenia of their intentions, which, in accordance with the decision of the arbitral tribunal, does not have the right to declare its own exclusive economic zone. Representatives of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy met at the ministerial and professional level. At the December meeting in Trieste, they adopted a joint statement on cooperation in the management of the Adriatic but did not sign it yet.

In the statement, they emphasised, among other things, that Slovenia, Italy and Croatia, as countries bordering the common sea, share the vision of the Adriatic Sea as a bridge that unites people in the region and as a source of prosperity for all. At its meetings with Croatia and Italy, Slovenia emphasised that the planned declaration of the exclusive economic zones of Croatia and Italy must in no way prejudge Slovenia’s rights under international and European law.

Slovenia and Croatia have improved their relations
Logar is also proud that relations with Croatia have become much more friendly and cooperative under the current government. A few days ago, he emphasised that relations between the two countries were no longer based on numerous lawsuits, in which Slovenia lost millions in the past. Logar wants to continue constructively working with Croatia, with a focus on successful problem solving.

Sara Rančigaj

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