The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Will Ratify Croatia EU Treaty Within a Month


Janša and his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović will sign the agreement on 11 March, whereupon the Slovenian government will ratify it, according to Janša, who noted that ratification in parliament was not necessary.

After the deal is sealed, the government will send the law on the ratification of Croatia's EU Accession Treaty to parliament. Janša said ratification of Croatia's EU membership could "realistically be expected within a month".

However, Janša was quick to point out that the ratification in parliament would be started "but it will not end until we have received the documentation on the ratification of the memorandum via diplomatic channels."

The agreement resolving the LB bank dispute stipulates that the issue will be tackled pursuant to Appendix C of the 2001 agreement on succession to the former Yugoslavia, which deals with the financial assets and liabilities of the former Yugoslavia.

Both sides at the same time note that a comprehensive solution to the issue needs to be found and pledge to continue active talks under the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel.

Croatia will make sure that all procedures triggered by two commercial, PBZ and Zabrebačka banka, against LB and its successor NLB with the authorisation of the Croatian government will be stayed and no new proceedings launched "pending the resolution of this issue".

Janša highlighted this as crucial. When asked whether the proceedings will be stayed even if the resolution of the issue theoretically takes decades, he said "yes, theoretically", but in reality no.

He argued that the solution should be arrived at lo later than when the other successor countries, at least Serbia, become EU members. "It may take years, but it won't take forever."

Asked whether Slovenia stepped back in not demanding a final withdrawal of all lawsuits against LB, Janša said the memorandum was a compromise that fulfils Slovenia's "key interest that the issue of transferred deposits return to the framework of the succession agreement."

Croatia, on the other hand, achieved its principal objective - acceleration of the ratification of the Accession Treaty, he said.

Rudi Gabrovec, Slovenia's high representative for succession, described the deal as "a step in the right direction", telling the STA that it was crucial the two sides agreed to proceed in accordance with the succession agreement.

However, he noted that the second part of the memorandum speaks about the procedures triggered by two commercial banks against LB and its successor NLB with the authorisation of the Croatian government will be "stayed", not withdrawn.

This raises the question, he said, whether they could be re-launched, but he was quick to point out that he did not see a danger of additional problems.

The LB memorandum has been made in English and will be signed in English.

The deal has also been welcomed by the EU, with Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle describing it as good for both countries and for enlargement, according to his spokesman, Peter Stano.

He also labelled the deal as "a very good example" of how joint efforts in the spirit of neighbourly relations can create benefits for both sides and provide a basis for the resolution of outstanding issues.

The commissioner is convinced that all EU member states will ratify Croatia's EU treaty in time so that Croatia can join the EU on 1 July as planned.


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