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14.04.2010 15:21
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Slovenia OK with All Croatian EU Chapters

Ljubljana, 14 April (STA) - Foreign Ministry spokesman Milan Balazic said on Wednesday that Slovenia no longer had reservations about any of Croatia's EU accession chapters. He said 6 June was the most probable date for the referendum on the border arbitration agreement with Croatia.

Balazic said at his regular briefing for the press that Slovenia approved of Croatia closing and opening all of its chapters and had even pushed for postponing Monday's accession conference so as to enable Croatia to open one or two chapter more.

Saying the Spanish EU presidency showed no interest for the idea, he expressed regret that Croatia would only be able to close one negotiating chapter - on the free movement of goods - while not opening any of the three remaining chapters - justice, competition, and foreign and defence policy.

The announcement comes after Pahor recently suggested that the issue of the Croatian savers of the defunct Ljubljanska banka (LB), which has for years been preventing Slovenian banks from entering the Croatian market, could entail some problems when it comes to the chapter on the free movement of capital, which still needs to be closed.

Balazic explained that the "green light" on the part of Slovenia was also on here, since "Slovenian negotiators obviously introduced the issue successfully into the shared negotiating positions". Balazic did not disclose what the solution was.

Slovenia has been insisting that the LB issue - concerning the foreign currency deposits of around 132,000 savers of the LB Zagreb bank, who are demanding more than EUR 172m - be resolved as part of former Yugoslavia succession talks conducted with the help of the Basel Bank for International Settlements.

Meanwhile, the ministry spokesman said that in order to meet the 6 June target for the border arbitration agreement referendum, the agreement would need to be ratified in parliament next week.

An initiative for the referendum would then have to be filed within seven days, possibly by all parties, given that the heads of all parliamentary parties have agreed on a referendum, Balazic added.

14.04.2010 15:21

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