The Slovenia Times

Croatia Again Ignoring Agreements with Slovenia


The court decided the defunct LB bank and Slovenia's no. 1 bank NLB must compensate two Croatian banks, Zagrebačka banka and Privredna banka Zagreb (PBZ), which sued on behalf of the government of Croatia for LB deposits that had been guaranteed and paid by Croatia through the two banks.

LB and NLB were ordered to pay Zagrebačka banka 18 million Swiss francs, 1.4 million euros and nine million US dollars and smaller amounts in five more currencies, and PBZ roughly 220,000 euros.

The ruling is not yet final. Matija Pečatnik, the LB lawyer, did not wish to specify whether he will appeal, indicating instead that he would wait for the response from the Slovenian authorities.

The Slovenian Foreign Ministry has said on several occasions it would consider any rulings handed down after the March 2013 memorandum immaterial, and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec indicated today this is still Slovenia's official position.

Croatia "does not wish to honour the memorandum", he told reporters today, adding: "The procedures ongoing in Croatia are null for Slovenia."

The memorandum had been signed by the prime ministers and confirmed by the Slovenian parliament under the assumption that Croatia will halt these proceedings until a solution is found in the framework of succession talks, he said.

This means that Croatia has "accepted an international obligation to resolve the issue of savings deposits as part of succession," Erjavec stressed.

Before the memorandum was signed Croatian courts handed down two rulings in similar cases, one in favour of Slovenia and one in favour of Croatia. A total of 27 lawsuits brought by PBZ and Zagrebačka banka are still pending.

The current disagreement stems from how both sides perceive the nature of the memorandum: Croatia did not ratify it in parliament and does not deem it a binding intergovernmental agreement, while Slovenia did.

Moreover, the memorandum, written in English, stipulates ongoing procedures would be "stayed", which Croatian courts have come to interpret differently for lack of an official translation.


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