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Interview by the Slovenia's new PM Designate Alenka Bratušek for @vecernji_list [courtesy translation]:

Q: Did you expect such a support in the parliament?

A: Honestly, yes. It really would not be right to say otherwise.

Q: Croatia is following the development of events in Slovenia very carefully primarily due to the ratification of the Accession Treaty. What can we expect?

A: As I said in the Parliament the ratification is not only Croatia's but also Slovenia's strategic interest. I am convinced that there will not be any problems regarding the ratification once the issue of "Ljubljanska banka" is resolved.

Q: Can you foresee a date when Slovenia could ratify Croatia's Accession Treaty?

A: Believe me, there will be no problems. The ratification could take place right after the meeting of both Ministers and both Prime Ministers.

Q: How will the negotiations on the Ljubljanska banka proceed? Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša and Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović were supposed to meet on 10 March.

A: The agreement on the issue of Ljubljanska banka is in its final stages; as far as I know from colleague Karl Erjavec.

Q: What is next?

A: First the Ministers of Foreign Affairs must meet. After that the Prime Ministers should meet and I hope we will finalise the agreement. I cannot speak about dates right now as I was confirmed only today.

Q: Will you continue to work and negotiate within the framework set by former Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Croatian Minister Vesna Pusić at Otočec?

A: We will. I see that agreement as a good one for both sides.

Q: Is withdrawal of the lawsuits by Croatian banks still a precondition for the ratification?

A: As far as I know the withdrawal of the lawsuits is part of the agreement by the two Ministers.

Q: Will Ljubljanska banka be resolved within the succession framework then?

A: We are talking about confidential information so you will understand if I do not comment on that.

Q: How do you see the relations between Croatia and Slovenia. It is an impression that they have deteriorated in the last year.

A: I would not say that; I do not have such an impression. I see the relations between the two countries as good ones. We are good neighbours and partners.

Q: Is Slovenia blackmailing Croatia by connecting the issue of Ljubljanska banka with the ratification as some people see it?

A: No, I would not speak about blackmail. Simple, the issue of Ljubljanska banka must be resolved and now is the time.

Q: Does your confirmation as Prime Minister-Designate mean an end to the political and social crisis in Slovenia?

A: I would say this is the beginning of an end. Now we face negotiations on the programs, composition of the Government. I hope this marks a new beginning and new hope for citizens. Just to remind you Janez Janša's Government had 15% approval rating. It could not be continued this way.

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