Pahor, Josipović Reaffirm Friendly Relations with Declaration

With the declaration, the presidents committed to boosting ties in all areas of social and political life.

Josipović pointed out in a statement after their meeting that Pahor's visit rounded off the efforts to solve all open issues between Slovenia and Croatia, and promoted economic cooperation and the two countries' shared future in the EU.

"Undoubtedly, Croatia and Slovenia are both politically and economically directed towards each other," he pointed out.

The countries have a "shared future in the EU" and therefore certain shared interests, according to the Croatian president. He pointed to the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, in which Slovenia and Croatia "will have important interests".

He also reiterated that both countries supported EU prospects for all the other countries of their region.

Similarly, Pahor said that after two decades of tackling complex issues, the two countries had arrived at solutions and transformed their "common friendship into good friendship".

"Recent years saw big breakthroughs," the Slovenian president said.

He also noted that his first official visit to Croatia is also the first visit of a Slovenian president to Zagreb since 2009.

Touching on the LB issue, Pahor said he and Josipović had agreed that they would encourage both governments to find solutions within the memorandum signed at Mokrice Castle as soon as possible.

He said Slovenia expected Croatia to fulfil its obligations from the memorandum, signed by Slovenian and Croatian PMs, Janez Janša and Zoran Milanović, at Mokrice in mid-March to clear the way for Croatia's EU entry.

Slovenian journalists who were present at the press conference in Zagreb wondered whether Croatia was indeed respecting the Mokrice memorandum, given that the proceedings launched against Slovenian banks at Croatian courts are continuing.

Croatia promised it would stop the lawsuits against the LB bank and its successor NLB over alleged debt to Croatian LB savers to pave the way to Slovenia's ratification of Croatia's EU Accession Treaty.

Josipović replied that Croatia acknowledged the accord and was acting in line with it. "Both governments are working intensively on this," he said.

The Croatian president also noted that foreign ministers Karl Erjavec and Vesna Pusić, who paved the way for solving the LB issue, had notified him today that they would focus on getting the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel involved in the talks, as set down in the memorandum.

Pahor said the improvement in the relations between the countries and the revival of a friendly atmosphere increased the scope of Slovenian investments in the country last year.

Asked how they think Slovenia and Croatia could get out of the economic crisis, Pahor said the Slovenian government's priority was the balancing of public finances and encouraging growth. He also stressed that the Slovenian businesses would open up to foreign investors.

"I expect and I wish that in Slovenia the important decisions, especially those that need a two-third majority (in parliament), would not be put off," Pahor said.

That way Slovenia would prove to the European Commission that it is capable of making its own decisions and getting out of this crisis on its own, according to Pahor.

Josipović meanwhile said that both countries would need to adopt the concept of "smart economy" and take advantage of their competitive edge, especially when entering third markets together.

After the end of the official meeting, Pahor and Josipović took time for a leisurely stroll through the centre of Zagreb, visiting among other things the Slovenian Eurobasket 2013 promotional campaign in the square of Ban Josip Jelačić.

"We hope that many Croatian fans come and enjoy the sports events and the beauty of our country. We are here today to strengthen this friendship," Pahor was heard to remark.