Slovenia-Croatia: agreement on bank dispute signed

End of last obstacle to Zagreb's EU adhesion

11 March, 14:16

(ANSAmed) - LJUBLJANA, MARCH 11 - Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement ending a 20-year-long financial dispute between the two former Yugoslav republics and eliminating the last obstacle for Slovenia to ratify Croatia's adhesion treaty to the European Union.

The agreement provides for a solution to the issue concerning the remittances of Croatians with savings deposits at the Ljubljanska banka which were frozen in 1991 after the proclamation of independence of Zagreb and Ljubljana. The solution should be found in the future as part of the settlement process of assets of the Yugoslav federation by the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements. The few hundred million euros in savings have been paid off to the deposit holders by the Croatian state which then filed lawsuits against the Ljubljansa banka demanding to be paid back. Zagreb on Monday promised to freeze legal procedures against the Slovenian bank ahead of a compromise.

Ljubljana's government has vowed to kick start soon the ratification process of Croatia's adhesion treaty to the EU which was blocked because Ljubljana insisted on a preliminary resolution to the bilateral dispute. Croatia should become a full EU member in July.

So far 24 countries have ratified the adhesion treaty.

Slovenia, Germany and Denmark still need to ratify it.(ANSAmed).

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