LB Issue Could Be Solved Fast if Croatia Were more Flexible
Pusić meanwhile insists that the LB and the ratification of Croatia's EU accession treaty remain two completely separate issues.
The meeting comes a few days after Erjavec said that Slovenia might not ratify the neighbour's EU accession agreement until the Croatian government withdraws authorisation for two banks suing Slovenia's LB and NLB banks.
The Croatian media has been quick to speculate that this was yet another blockade of Croatia's efforts to join the EU on the part of Slovenia; but Pusić said yesterday that she expects all EU members to ratify Croatia's accession treaty.
Today, the ministers shared the view that a two-member task force responsible for finding ways to resolve the LB issues must start its work as soon as possible.
The first meeting of Slovenia's former central bank governor France Arhar and Croatia's former central bank deputy governor Zdravko Rogić is scheduled for September, according to Erjavec.
The LB bank issue stems from the early 1990s, as the LB went bankrupt after the breakup of former Yugoslavia and a number of Croatian clients lost their savings held in the Zagreb branch of the bank.
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.
Croatian governments moreover issued in 1995 and 2001 authorisation empowering two Zagreb-based banks to sue LB and its offshoot NLB. This government repeated the move earlier this year but changed its mind after Slovenia said it would not ratify its accession treaty.
Erjavec is to meet Arhar for a working meeting tomorrow to determine technicalities. The minister said that Slovenia is most interested in Croatia's legal basis for the lawsuits which Slovenia wants to see dropped.
Asked whether he was concerned about potential pressure from other EU members, Erjavec said it is not just Slovenia but other countries as well which want Croatia to respect the promises it had given in the past.