Ljubljanska Banka is one of the remaining outstanding issues between Slovenia and Croatia, and Ljubljana will ratify Croatia's accession treaty with the European Union when all their bilateral outstanding issues have been settled, Slovenian Parliament Deputy Speaker Romana Tomc said in Strasbourg on Friday after her talks with her Croatian counterpart Josip Leko.
"It is one of the key conditions for our ratification of your accession treaty with the EU," Tomc told the press after she and Leko held talks on the margins of a summit of parliamentary chiefs of the Council of Europe member-states.
On Thursday, the Slovenian parliament's foreign affairs committee endorsed the policy of the government and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec that the ratification of Croatia's accession treaty should be made conditional on the solution of the now-defunct Ljubljanska bank's deposits and its customers.
Tomc expressed hope that France Arhar and Zdravko Rogic, whom Slovenia and Croatia respectively appointed as financial experts to deal with this issue, would succeed in "reaching structural solutions to the satisfaction of both parties".
"Slovenia wants Croatia to join the EU as soon as possible," Tomc said.
Asked by reporters whether her statement means that Slovenia treats the Ljubljanska Banka issue as more important than a monitoring report on Croatia, which the European Commission is due to release in October and which is awaited by some EU members before they ratify Croatia's treaty, the Slovenian official said that she did not want to define "what is of higher and what is of lower priority". Both things are important, she added.
Croatian Parliament Deputy Speaker Josip Leko said that at the meeting with Tomc he had expressed hope that Slovenia would ratify the treaty regardless of the outcome of the talks on Ljubljanska Banka and that Slovenia would not be among the last countries to do so.
He admitted that he had not been given any concrete response to his statements, however, Leko said that the two neighbours agreed fully on some other matters such as cooperation within the EU and among parliaments.
Also on Friday, Leko met with Bundestag Speaker Norbert Lammert who reiterated what Chancellor Angela Merkel had said during her meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic in Berlin earlier this week when she promised that the treaty would be ratified in time and commended Croatia for being on the right track.
After meeting with a British parliamentary delegation on Thursday, Leko he said that the British parliament would ratify Croatia's treaty by Christmas, sooner than previously announced.