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About the proposed candidate Rant and relations with Croatia

Zreče, 02/10/2007  |  press release, statement

On the occasion of today's event at Terme Zreče, where he addressed the participants in the Fifth international symposium "Diving and Diving for Persons with Special Needs", the President of the Republic, Dr Janez Drnovšek, answered the questions from the press about the proposed candidate for the governor of the Bank of Slovenia, Andrej Rant, and Slovenia's relations with Croatia.

Yesterday, you proposed Mr. Rant for the new governor. What are his chances of being elected by the parliament in your opinion?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: Mr. Rant is a good candidate, which is why I nominated him. He has an in-depth knowledge of the credit and monetary policy and of the central bank. This is a very specific activity and differs greatly from other branches of economics, finance, and there are not many experts in this area. I think that Mr. Rant is one of them: he is currently the vice-governor, and he was employed at the Bank of Slovenia during the setting up of our monetary system, first on the introduction of the tolar and now the euro, and believe that he is the man able to ensure the Bank of Slovenia's successful performance also in the future.

You advised the Prime Minister of your proposal. Has he responded yet? Will Mr. Rant receive the coalition's support?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I hope and expect so. He has not yet taken his position, I informed him of my proposal. I understand that he needs to make additional consultations, but I do believe that it would be proper and statesmanlike for the National Assembly to approve this candidate in order to ensure a smooth and continued operation of this financial institution after having refused to approve the nomination of the former Governor, Mr. Gaspari.

How do you respond to the criticism from parliamentary groups that you should have consulted them, too?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: My primary task is to make a sound proposal, i.e. the best possible proposal in a given situation. Of course, there are different ways of presenting the proposal. I will assess the need for eventual additional interviews.

Another hot issue, Mr. Drnovšek: Relations with Croatia. Why did you cancel your scheduled meeting with Mr. Mesić?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: The meeting was not meant to be a political one. Some time ago, Mr. Mesić telephoned me and asked me to come to Bjelovar, where I am expected to present my new book, and then said that he would also be there to meet me; however, without raising any political issues.

But still, you announced at your previous meetings that, if the governments of the two countries failed to come to a reasonable agreement, you would shape a proposal by yourselves?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I still believe that the two governments should initiate a serious dialogue, that exacerbating the situation leads nowhere, and that the two governments urgently need to sit down and really get down to resolving the open issues since, otherwise, one incident merely leads to another, and one tension to another. During my last meeting with Mr. Mesić, I suggested some possible solutions, particularly for the problem of foreign currency deposits, which is one of the open issues between our two countries. Even before that meeting we agreed that he should also study the Croatian view of border issue in order to assist our governments and promote further dialogue. For the time being, however, we have not moved beyond this point. At least to my knowledge, there are presently no elements provided by Mr. Mesić for continuing our dialogue on these issues. I have fulfilled my part of the agreement.

Could you comment upon the statement of Mr. Marjan Podobnik?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I do not know what comment I should make. I usually do not comment upon other people's statements.

That arms deals...

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I have no comment. Particularly not on unserious statements.

And what about the statement dissuading Slovenes from vacationing in Croatia?

Dr Janez Drnovšek: I recommend them to vacation in Croatia. I was on the island of Mljet last autumn and I must say that I had a very good time. But, at the same time, I also told the Croatian public that they should take better care of their coast, the Dalmatian coast and the sea, since there is also evidence of destruction of the environment, and that they should take proper care to preserve and not destroy their natural wealth.