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Document 62018CN0457

Case C-457/18: Action brought on 13 July 2018 — Republic of Slovenia v Republic of Croatia

OJ C 399, 5.11.2018, p. 19–21 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)

5.11.2018   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 399/19


Action brought on 13 July 2018 — Republic of Slovenia v Republic of Croatia

(Case C-457/18)

(2018/C 399/27)

Language of the case: Slovenian

Parties

Applicant: Republic of Slovenia (represented by: M. Menard)

Defendant: Republic of Croatia

Form of order sought

The applicant claims that the Court should declare that the defendant has infringed:

Article 2 TEU and Article 4(3) TEU;

Article 5(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, together with Annex I thereto, configuring the European Union system for controlling, verifying and implementing the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, which was established by Regulation No 1224/2009 and by Implementing Regulation No 404/2011;

Articles 4 and 17 of Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders, together with Article 13 thereof; and

Article 2(4) and Article 11(1) of Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning.

The applicant also claims that the Court should:

order the defendant to put an end to the infringements mentioned above without delay; and

order the defendant to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

In support of its action, the applicant raises the following pleas in law.

First plea in law:

By unilaterally falling short of the commitment, which it made during the EU accession process, to comply with the arbitration award and thus with the boundary delimited by that award and the other obligations imposed thereby, the Republic of Croatia refuses to respect the rule of law, which is a fundamental value of the European Union (Article 2 TEU).

Second plea in law:

By virtue of the fact that it unilaterally refuses to fulfil its obligations under the arbitration award, while at the same time preventing Slovenia from fully exercising its sovereignty over certain parts of its territory under the Treaty, the Republic of Croatia is in breach of its duty of sincere cooperation with the European Union and with the Republic of Slovenia as laid down in Article 4(3) TEU. The Republic of Croatia’s conduct is jeopardising the attainment of the objectives of the European Union, peace-building and an ever closer union between nations, and the objectives of the Union rules relating to the territory of the Member States (first subparagraph of Article 4(3) TEU). In addition, the Republic of Croatia is making it impossible for the Republic of Slovenia to implement EU law throughout its mainland and marine territory and to act in accordance with that law, and in particular in compliance with the secondary Union rules relating to the territory of the Member States (first subparagraph of Article 4(3) TEU).

Third plea in law:

The Republic of Croatia is infringing Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, and in particular the mutual access regime laid down in Article 5 thereof and Annex I thereto. The regime, which applies to Croatia and Slovenia since 30 December 2017, grants 25 fishing vessels from each country free access to the other country’s territorial sea, as determined according to international law, that is, under the arbitration award. The Republic of Croatia is not permitting the Republic of Slovenia to exercise its rights under that regime and is thus infringing Article 5 of that regulation due to the fact that: (i) it is refusing to implement the mutual access regime; (ii) it is refusing to recognise the validity of the legislation adopted by the Republic of Slovenia for that purpose; and (iii) by systematically applying fines, it is denying Slovenian fishing vessels free access to the marine waters which the arbitration award of 2017 has defined as Slovene, and, a fortiori, free access to Croatian waters falling within the scope of the mutual access regime.

Fourth plea in law:

The Republic of Croatia is infringing Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy and Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011 of 8 April 2011. Croatian police patrol boats, without authorisation from the Republic of Slovenia, are accompanying Croatian fishing vessels when they fish in Slovenian waters, thereby preventing Slovenian fishing inspectors from carrying out controls. At the same time, the Croatian authorities are imposing fines on Slovenian fishing vessels for unlawful boundary crossing and illegal fishing when they fish in Slovenian waters which Croatia claims for itself. In addition, Croatia is not sending Slovenia the data regarding the activities of Croatian vessels in Slovenian waters, as is required by those two regulations. Thus, the Republic of Croatia is not permitting the Republic of Slovenia to carry out controls in waters under its sovereignty and jurisdiction and is not respecting Slovenia’s exclusive jurisdiction as a coastal State in its territorial sea, thereby infringing Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 and Regulation (EU) No 404/2011.

Fifth plea in law:

The Republic of Croatia has infringed and continues to infringe Regulation (EU) 2016/399 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on a Union Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders (Schengen Borders Code). Croatia does not recognise the boundaries established by the arbitration award as a common boundary with Slovenia, is not cooperating with Slovenia to protect that ‘external border’, and is not in a position to guarantee adequate protection of that border, so that it is infringing Articles 13 and 17 of that regulation, and Article 4 thereof, which requires borders to be established in accordance with international law.

Sixth plea in law:

The Republic of Croatia has infringed and continues to infringe Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning, which is to apply to ‘marine waters’ of Member States, as defined in accordance with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (‘Unclos’) (Article 2(4) of the directive). The Republic of Croatia rejects the arbitration award which has established that delimitation of the boundaries and — on the contrary — includes Slovenian waters in its own maritime spatial planning: consequently, it does not allow for harmonisation with the geographical maps of the Republic of Slovenia, thereby infringing that directive, in particular Articles 8 and 11 thereof.


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