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48th annual Mermelia-South Jute summit in Laina

First photo: The third day of the summit in the Ball Hall of the International Harbor Hotel, located in the harbor of Laina.
Second photo: The leaders of the Mermelian delegation pose for a photo in the Museum of the Republic for Political History with the curator.
Third photo: Informal meetings between the two delegations took place in the Café Vulekele.
(Unusually, participants this year chose to wear Balak formal suits after a mix-up at the laundry facility of the hotel had their ceremonial clothing end up with a different travel group that had already embarked towards Nevira. The suits were a gift by the nearby Balak Cultural House.)

Surveying and reviewing the enforcement of the co-sovereignty treaty underlying the basic laws of the land governed by both South Jute and Mermelia

Published: 14 Bifkines, 3212

The binational legal system established to harmonize the two jurisdictions of Mermelia and South Jute in 1974 was as in previous years the center of scrutiny on this summit. While the BATs (Bilateral Arbitration Trials) demanded by the treaty to settle disputes between the South Jutean court system and the Mermelian court system became the responsibility of the CoURT (Court of Unified Rights and Treaties) of the YC after its establishment in 1979, the review of their function as being in alignment with the purpose specified in the treaty remained the responsibility of the summit delegations of both administrations.

The review concluded that the system continues to prove itself resilient and mostly functional. However, it noted that the growth of the trade in the harbor of Laina has not just resulted in significant growth for the South Jutean economy and population, but that it also led to real estate in Laina becoming increasingly sparse and therefore expensive, leading to many companies doing business in the harbor setting up headquarters just across the city borders where land prices and construction are cheaper. Furthermore, many are pledging allegiance to Mermelia due to the lower taxes paid by Mermelian businesses, and some also cite the Mermelian regulatory system as an advantage.
A resulting open question is whether for Mermelian companies that exclusively or almost exclusively work in Laina should not be subject to South Jutean administration as far as business and labor regulations and related disputes are concerned. Both delegations agreed to make audits of these companies binational for the coming year and to use those as the basis for a report detailing the situation, including suggestions that could be discussed on the next summit.

Further topics on the summit was the review of the state of natural resources and corresponding binational policy. One of the most pressing concerns of the past years here has been air and water pollution affecting South Jutean farms that has been blamed on Mermelian companies located in the interior of the territory, and nearby Laina also on harbor activity.
Expert assessment concluded this year has mostly found pollution levels in the binational territory to be below legal limits set by the respective authorities, and called on the South Jutean and Mermelian agencies responsible for enforcing environmental protection to sue those companies exceeding them in the CoURT. Stricter pollution levels and better enforcement of regulations is also among the expert recommendations.

The results of the summits are legally binding, however, they will not have immediate consequences for South Juteans. Those affected by either issue or wishing to give their input are welcome to do so at the next community meetings, or by writing their regional or national representatives. People afflicted by damage caused through pollution are encouraged to seek help from the local chapter of the Protection of the Environmental Agency (PEA) or seek legal aid. Publicly funded legal aid is available for all South Juteans, more information can be found here or from local authorities.

Image source for the cafe picture: cat_collector, CC BY 2.0.