The Croatian government on Thursday discussed its response to an interpellation by which the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) had proposed that parliament oblige the government to raise an objection to the jurisdiction of the Washington-based International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in a case which commercial banks in Croatia might bring against the government over the conversion of Swiss franc-denominated loans and to launch a procedure to exit bilateral agreements on mutual investment protection which had been signed with EU member states before Croatia joined the bloc.

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said he had no knowledge of any of the banks taking legal action against Croatia.

The government says in its opinion that the interpellation is unnecessary and the conclusions proposed in it inconsistent and unjustified.

In a section on the SDP's proposal that bilateral agreements on investment protection with EU member states be declared null and void, the government says that this is a legal issue concerning the entire EU and a common solution is being sought that will apply to all EU member states.

As long as these agreements are in force, they are binding, and all attempts by other member states and the European Commission to declare them null and void have failed so far. A considerable portion of these agreements were concluded for a specific period of time and cannot be cancelled without the consent of the other party, the government says in its opinion.

Maric said that 11 banks had submitted reports to his ministry on the conversion of CHF-indexed loans, showing that 58,367 citizens had such loans. Of them, 93.9 percent accepted the conversion option and 84.9 percent of these loans have already  been converted. The total effect of the conversion is HRK 7.6 billion, he said.

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