Bloomberg News

Croatian, Slovenian Premiers Agree on Nova Ljubljanska Dispute

May 15, 2012

Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and his Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa said they will work to resolve a dispute over money owed to Croatian savers by the predecessors of Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d.

“The issue of savers will be resolved to the benefit of all citizens,” Jansa told reporters after meeting with Milanovic today in Maribor, Slovenia. “Like with all the remaining issues, we will try to resolve this one without much ado.”

Croatia, which needs Slovenia to ratify its European Union membership to enter the bloc in July 2013, doesn’t allow NLB to operate in Croatia before the dispute is settled. The Ljubljana- based debt is estimated at 312 million deutsche marks ($204 million), the former German currency that was widely used in former Yugoslavia.

Jansa also said it is in Slovenia’s interest that Croatia becomes an EU member “as soon as possible,” according to a statement on the Croatian government’s Twitter profile.

Slovenia and Croatia agreed in October 2010 to resolve the dispute under the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel. The bank a month later rejected mediation, saying it could not bring any added value to negotiations.

An EU member since 2004, Slovenia blocked its neighbor’s EU accession talks for 10 months in 2009 over a border issue. The two countries in January agreed on a panel of legal experts to work out a resolution.

“All the difficult issues are gone, there are only technical aspects that we will resolve in joint commissions,” Milanovic said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jasmina Kuzmanovic at jkuzmanovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net


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