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Books on Croatia
Update No: 130 - (26/03/08)
Key obstacle to EU membership still there - ZERP
Croatia's Prime Minister says his country may be forced to give up its bid for
European Union membership, if no deal on its controversial protected fishing
zone is found. Zagreb says the protected zone off its Adriatic coast, known as
ZERP (Protected Ecological Fishery Zone), is intended to preserve fishing stocks
and reduce pollution.
But Italy and Slovenia say the area has to be shared between the three countries
and have accused Croatia of breaking European Union regulations.
Although not a EU member, Croatia has candidate status for membership, and had
originally agreed to abide to EU rules in regulating fish stocks in the upper
The dispute has seen Slovenia, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency,
using its clout to block Croatia's efforts to join the 27-member bloc.
"They ignore the facts that Italy and Slovenia have already declared their
own zones after agreeing to the June 2004 Protocol, and that Croatia for nearly
four years did not apply ZERP on EU member states," Prime Minister Ivo
Sanader told Croatian Radio's regular monthly feature "How the Government
"If we are going to be blackmailed with the implementation of the ZERP,
then it becomes very serious and I will lean towards President (Stipe) Mesic's
prediction that it will become a question of choosing between the EU and ZERP,"
He refused to reveal any details on a possible solution to the deadlock, saying
he has been waiting more than two months for talks with Italy, Slovenia and the
European Commission, although according to him they seem to be avoiding the
Riots in Belgrade
Sanader, also commented on the recent riots in the Serbian capital which
left the city's Croatian Embassy damaged. The riots erupted during a huge
protest by Serbs against Kosovo's declaration of independence, and its
recognition by some Western countries.
The Croatian premier said he hoped the worst was over, suggesting "we want
all our neighbours to do well, and with that in mind we wish the same for
Croatian President Mesic has a different view
ENTER 'THE HAGUE'
After visiting the Brodarski Institute, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic stated
that the tension that has arisen over the ZERP problem is exaggerated.
The major issue is the problem with sea borders, and Slovenia also wants to
solve the issue over the land borders said Mesic, adding that after proposals
forwarded by Croatia and Slovenia, now it is the turn of the The Hague Tribunal.
Mesic then said that Croatia will accept any decision made by The Hague.
"We expect that, if Slovenia accepts the solution over the borders, then
the ZERP issue will be next in line," said the president. He stressed that
Croatia, despite scepticism, can do everything that is needed to join the EU in
The Ministry of Defence has been commissioned to the Brodarski Institute to
carry out a study for design solutions of patrol boats and multi-purpose vessels
for the coast guard for the monitoring of the ZERP.
Minister of defence Branko Vukelic said that the state leaders stated that
Croatia will have a naval fleet, and air defence and that they will build ships
for the war fleet and the coast guard.
"The state leaders and the parliament requested the construction of ships,
not NATO. By the end of the study we will know what kind of boats will be built
in Croatian shipyards," said Vukelic.