Croatia, who joined the EU on 1 July, is already entangled in a major conflict with the European Commission. In late June, Zagreb changed its legislation, not allowing the European Arrest Warrant to apply for crimes committed before 2002.
Commission Vice President Viviane Reding wrote to Zagreb, warning that the country could lose EU funds if it did not change its new law.
But Croatia, which recently became the 28th EU member state, does not appear to want to take any risks that the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is used against top military and officials who participated in the Yugoslav wars. A deadline to respond to Reding’s letter expired at midnight on 24 August.
On 28 June, Croatia passed a law dubbed Lex Perkovi? limiting the application of the EAW to crimes committed after August 2002.
In a letter to Justice Minister Orsat Miljeni? at the end of July, Reding wrote that Croatia’s amendment of the law was not in accordance with European legislation and should be corrected.
Croatia’s government will not make a decision on Lex Perkovi? in the next weeks, but the country’s justice minister will reply to Reding’s letter, the Croatian prime minister, Zoran Milanovi?, was quoted as saying by the website Dalje.com on 24 August.
“The European Commission has never discussed this topic, however, our minister [Orsat Miljeni?] will answer the letter by the European Commissioner. One thing is certain, the cabinet will not be making decisions on the matter in the next few weeks,” Milanovi? said at a news conference after he held a trilateral meeting in Graz with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann and Slovenian Prime Minister Alenka ?Bratušek.
This matter is not being discussed in Europe and Faymann learned of it accidentally, Milanovi? further said. The EAW is applied differently depending on the member state, he added. He said Austria, as an older EU member, is eligible for exemptions and time limits, while Croatia and Slovenia are not entitled to such derogations.
“Croatia is not trying to dodge the warrant, and it respects the EAW, but it will request a discussion on the matter to be held by the European Council,” Milanovi? said.