Slovenian Lawmakers Meeting to Vote on Croatia’s EU Entry

Slovenian lawmakers are meeting to vote on Croatia’s entry into the European Union after the two former Yugoslav partners agreed to solve a two-decade-old bank dispute.

Slovenian lawmakers are debating in the capital Ljubljana today to ratify Croatia’s accession with a two-thirds majority needed in the 90-member assembly, according to Parliament spokeswoman Karmen Uglesic. Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and his foreign minister, Vesna Pusic, are attending the session.

“Croatia’s EU entry has an important message for the rest of the Balkan region as it shows that disputes can be solved if there is a will,” Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek said.’’EU expansion will bring stability to the region and much-needed economic progress.’’

Slovenia, which is battling its second recession since 2009 and a deepening banking crisis, is among the last EU nations to clear Croatia’s path to become a member of the world’s largest trading bloc in July. Ratification was hung up as the two nations haggled over a bank and a border dispute stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991.

Of the 27 EU members, 22 completed the approval process, while Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have started the procedure.

Slovenia had threatened a veto if the two nations failed to reach an agreement over 270 million euros ($345 million) owed to Croatian savers by the predecessor of Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. The countries agreed to approach the Bank for International Settlements for helping resolve the bank issue.

The rift was further compounded by a political crisis in Slovenia that led to Bratusek replacing former Premier Janez Jansa in a Feb. 27 vote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net

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

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