Slovenia’s diplomatic note on transferred foreign currency savings in Croatia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia today sent a note verbale to the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ljubljana, expressing concern over the latest final judgment in Croatia (of 10 April 2018 by Zagreb County Court), imposing on the defendants Ljubljanska Banka d.d. Ljubljana (LB) and Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. (NLB) the joint and several payment of the principal value of EUR 222,426.39, including the statutory interest on arrears, and the payment of the legal costs.
This was one of a series of judicial proceedings against LB and NLB led by Zagrebačka Banka and Privredna Banka Zagreb with authorisation from the Croatian Ministry of Finance. In the note, the Slovenian Foreign Ministry again informed the Croatian side that the continuation of the proceedings constitutes a violation of the treaties concluded between Slovenia and Croatia, i.e. the Agreement on Succession Issues and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, signed in Mokrice on 11 March 2013.
The Agreement stipulates that the issue of guarantees by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of foreign currency savings deposited in a commercial bank in any successor state is a succession issue on which the successor states must negotiate under the auspices of the Bank for International Settlements. In addition, the Memorandum reaffirms that the issue of the transferred foreign currency savings of LB in Croatia is a succession issue, so Slovenia and Croatia have undertaken to resolve the issue in accordance with Annex C to the Agreement on Succession Issues. Furthermore, the Memorandum stipulates that, pending the resolution of this issue, the Government of the Republic of Croatia will ensure the stay of all judicial proceedings initiated by Zagrebačka Banka and Privredna Banka Zagreb related to the transferred foreign currency savings. Nevertheless, the judicial proceedings have not been stayed, but are still underway. The Government of Croatia has not ensured the stay of proceedings or withdrawn the authorisation to Zagrebačka Banka and Privredna Banka Zagreb for actions against LB and NLB.
The Slovenian Foreign Ministry expressed the expectation that, concerning the transferred foreign currency savings, Croatia will refrain from any future action that violates the Agreement on Succession Issues and the Memorandum of Understanding. In particular, the Slovenian side expects that the assets of LB and NLB will not be seized, since such an action would be contrary to international law and European Union law, and Croatia is obliged to respect both.
The note also informed the Croatian side that, on 23 April 2018, Slovenia sent a letter to the European Commission requesting mediation to resolve the disputed issue, since Croatia failed to respond to Slovenia’s several proposals concerning the continuation of succession negotiations. Also, Croatia has not responded to Slovenia’s protest of 27 March 2018 against the continuation of the proceedings in Croatia. The Slovenian Foreign Ministry urged the Croatian side to accept the initiative on mediation by the European Commission concerning the transferred foreign currency savings.