JULY 24 2012 15:12h
Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said on Monday that the European Commission was not exerting pressure on Slovenia over the ratification of Croatia's EU accession treaty, and that the present Croatian government "obviously does not accept the commitments" taken on by its predecessor in dealing with the problem of Croatian depositors with the now defunct Slovenian bank Ljubljanska Banka.
"No one is exerting, nor will they be exerting, any pressure on Slovenia," Erjavec told Slovenian television by telephone from Brussels late on Monday. He said he had told EU officials and diplomats in Brussels that Croatia should honour the commitments made by the previous Croatian government, and stressed that Slovenia was not obstructing Croatia's EU entry but that it was time the two countries settled that issue before Croatia joined the bloc.
"I expect Croatia to deal with the Ljubljanska Banka problem as part of the succession process, which would be normal because that issue arose with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia," Erjavec said. He added that the previous government of Croatia had undertaken, as part of EU accession negotiations concerning free movement of capital, to deal with the Ljubljanska Banka issue through succession and according to "a territorial principle", but that the new government obviously did not want to meet those commitments and was playing "a double game".
On the one hand, Croatia keeps on stressing the need to close this issue, while on the other hand lawsuits against Ljubljanska Banka, filed by two Croatian banks, Zagrebacka Banka and Privredna Banka Zagreb, with powers of attorney given by the Croatian government in 1995 and 2001, continue before Croatian courts over unpaid deposits of Croatian clients with Ljubljanska Banka, which were transferred into public debt, the minister said, adding that the Croatian government should withdraw its powers of attorney.
Although Croatian courts have so far dismissed the lawsuits by the two banks against Ljubljanska Banka, these cases are continuing at different stages of court proceedings, and Slovenia cannot risk some of them ending in a guilty verdict against the Slovenian bank, because with Croatia's entry into the EU such verdicts would also become effective in the EU, including Slovenia, Erjavec said.
Erjavec said he had not met with Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic in Brussels on Monday to discuss this issue although she had announced that they would meet. (Hina)