Ljubljana - Slovenia's parliament on Tuesday ratified Croatia's Treaty of Accession to the European Union, as the 23rd member in the 27-strong bloc to do so in good time for Croatia to join the EU on 1 July, as scheduled. The ratification of the document in Slovenia's 90-seat legislature required a two-third majority, and during today's sitting, all 82 deputies who attended the ratification voted in favour.
The process of ratification in the Drzavni Zbor had been postponed for some time due to a long-standing dispute between Slovenia and Croatia over possible models to compensate customers of the now-defunct Ljubljanska Banka (LB), who had deposits in LB branches in Croatia. The dispute worsened after a decision by Janez Jansa's cabinet to make the ratification of the Croatia-EU treaty conditional on the settlement of the LB issue. However, earlier this year, the two countries agreed to put the LB issue within the framework of succession to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and to see to it that court lawsuits by Croatian banks over transferred savings be put on hold. After that, the Slovenian government immediately launched the parliamentary procedure to ratify Croatia's EU accession treaty. A memorandum to this effect was signed by the Slovenian outgoing premier Jansa and his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic on 11 March in Mokrice, Slovenia.
In attendance to today's special session were Slovenia's top officials as well as Croatian Prime Minister Milanovic, Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic and chairperson of the Foreign Policy Committee of Parliament Milorad Pupovac.
The remaining four countries that are expected to ratify the Croatia-EU treaty in the run-up to Croatia's EU entry, set for 1 July, are Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. With the completed ratification in six out of the seven parliaments at various levels in Belgium, the ratification in that country is also nearing completion. The lower house of the bicameral parliament in the Netherlands has already ratified the Croatia-EU treaty, and now the Senate is expected to follow suit. Germany and Denmark have waited for the findings of the final European Commission (EC) monitoring report prior completing the process of ratifying the treaty. Last week, the EC said in the report that "Croatia is generally meeting the commitments and requirements arising from the accession negotiations, in all chapters. Croatia has demonstrated its ability to fulfil all other commitments in good time before accession. Where required, clear work plans are available or about to be finalised for completing the remaining work, including the fight against corruption, in the months ahead." (Hina)