The Slovenia Times

Experts to Tackle LB Savers Issue


Under the agreement the ministers reached in Dubrovnik on Saturday the countries would name one expert each who will then together review the issue dating back to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

The agreement must still be confirmed by the respective cabinets, who will also be in charge of the appointments.

The LB debt issue, which Pusić labelled the only open issues between the two countries today, was the main topic of the meeting between the ministers held on the margins of the Croatia Summit 2012.

"I'm extremely pleased that Croatia and Slovenia are pushing ahead with dialogue on the LB savers issue. It is important that we, as ministers, continue discussing open issues," said Erjavec after the meeting.

Pusić said there was a desire on both sides to seek solutions instead of heightening tensions over the issue.

The issue at hand concerns savings deposits that Croatian savers held in LB Zagreb, the Croatian subsidiary of the Ljubljana-based LB bank, which went bankrupt after the break-up of Yugoslavia.

Slovenia maintains that the deposits should be covered by Croatia in line with a territorial principle of bank guarantees applied to the Yugoslav break up. But Croatia argues that Slovenia should see to the debt because LB was a Slovenian bank.

Former Slovenian and Croatian prime ministers Borut Pahor and Jadranka Kosor agreed to have the issue discussed in the framework of the Bank for International Settlements as part of a thawing of relations following the 2009 signing of the border arbitration agreement.

Yet there has been no progress and Croatia has threatened to revert to its old stance, including by backing Croatian banks who are taking LB and Slovenia to court to demand the repayment of EUR 250m which they paid to Croatian savers under the territorial guarantee scheme.

Erjavec recently warned that failing to respect the agreement reached by Pahor and Kosor to discuss the issue under the auspices of BIS could impact on the ratification of Croatia's EU accession treaty in the Slovenian parliament.

Erjavec said after today's meeting that Slovenia would begin the ratification process after the two experts propose solutions to the LB debt issue and once it becomes clear how the issue would be settled.

The pair also discussed Croatia's preparations for EU membership, which is scheduled for 2013, and the promotion of European reforms in the region. "We have a lot of room for cooperation and we must press ahead," added Pusić.


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