STA, 27 March 2019 - Foreign Minister Miro Cerar announced on Wednesday that Slovenia would issue a diplomatic note to Croatia over a grave border violation by a Croatian police boat in the Bay of Piran last Sunday.
Cerar said the boat crossing 2.5 km into Slovenian waters and even 1.3 km across the bay's midline was a special kind of provocation.
He spoke of an unnecessary escalation between the two countries, of a failure to honour international and EU law and of a violation of the Schengen border - by a country that would like to become a member of the Schengen area.
The newspaper Delo has reported that the Croatian police blamed their excursion on problems with navigation equipment.
"This is obviously just an excuse and as such completely unacceptable", Cerar commented, saying accepting this would be an "affront to the intelligence and abilities of the Croatian police authorities, which know exactly what they are doing".
The latest incident is part of a long history of run-ins in the bay featuring police and fishing boats on both sides of the border.
Since June 2017 the bay has also become the central theatre of the two sides' take on the international border arbitration decision, which Croatia is refusing to implement. The arbitration award gives 80% of the bay to Slovenia.
Cerar added today that Sunday's incident proved the implementation of the arbitration award was urgent, not only from the legal and political standpoints and bilateral relations but also because of "the entire European story".
"Such behaviour is not European and also serves as a poor example to the Western Balkans," Cerar said, adding the EU was constantly repeating that membership candidates needed to respect international law.