JULY 24 2012 18:40h
The issue of the Croatian government's powers of attorney with which Zagrebacka Banka and Privredna Banka will continue the lawsuit against Ljublanska Banka has nothing to do with the ratification of Croatia's Treaty of Accession with the European Union in the Slovenian Parliament, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic said in Brussels on Tuesday.
"This has nothing to do with the ratification and it needs to be resolved within the Ljubljanska Banka issue. We have had this problem for the past 19 years and Croatia and Slovenia must talk. We have appointed financial experts to deal with that issue and propose solutions. The issue of ratifying Croatia's EU accession treaty is about meeting the European criteria and has nothing to do with Ljubljanska Banka. I believe it is in Croatia's interest and to some extent in Slovenia's as well to think about our joint future in the region... Sometimes it is good to look a little further into the future," Pusic said asked to comment on Slovenia's request.
Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec told Slovenian Television on Monday that the Croatian government should withdraw the powers of attorney given to Zagrebacka Banka and Privredna Banka Zagreb in 1995 and 2001 to continue the lawsuit before Croatian courts over unpaid deposits of Croatian clients with Ljubljanska Banka, which were transferred into public debt.
Although Croatia courts have dismissing such lawsuits in the past, Slovenia fears that some of the proceedings could end with a verdicts against Ljubljanska Banka and once Croatia is a member of the EU, such verdicts must be executed.
Pusic and Erjavec briefly met in Brussels on Tuesday on the fringes of the meeting of EU foreign ministers.
"We talked briefly in passing about what I believe is a rational need to separate the issue of the progress of our region,... from the Ljubljanska Banka issue. Croatia has launched an initiative, which Slovenia has accepted, to appoint two financial experts for this issue and now we need to take this path and see how things will develop. These experts have been appointed only a week ago and it would be irresponsible of us to back out now," Pusic said.
Asked to comment on the statement by the head of Croatia's strongest opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Tomislav Karamarko, that Croatia could easily raise the question of Sveta Gera, should Slovenia continue to insist on bilateral issues, Pusic said attention must be turned to finding a solution and not to political ball-tossing.(Hina)