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Slovenia & Croatia: Crossing the Line

Relations between Slovenia and Croatia hit rock-bottom last week when Croatian police arrested 12 Slovenes in a disputed border area between the two countries. In response, Slovenia--which entered the EU just this spring--withdrew its support for Croatia’s EU membership application.

Among the 12 arrested Slovenes were Janez Podobnik, a former speaker of parliament, as well as another member of parliament. They were campaigning for the Slovene People’s Party, a former junior partner in the governing coalition, headed by Podobnik.

The group was visiting the house of a fellow party member in the disputed border area near the Bay of Piran, where they planted a symbolic tree of reconciliation.

Croatian police approached them as they were headed back toward a bridge between two border checkpoints. They refused to identify themselves, claiming to be on Slovene territory. Podobnik and others resisted arrest; in the hustling that followed, Podobnik fell to the ground.

Slovene police did not intervene.

The 12 were taken to a jail in Croatia and released a few hours later.

(TOL 01.x.04)

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