Slovenian lawmakers approved Monday legislation to compensate Bosnian and Croatian citizens for bank deposits lost with the disintegration of Yugoslavia, an issue that has poisoned relations for two decades and sparked a European court case.
The bill was approved by a vote 51 against 13, with two abstentions, in the 90-seat parliament.
Slovenia's government expects around 300,000 claims worth up to 385 million euros ($437 million), which will be repaid starting next year.
The compensation scheme was required by the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in July 2014 against Slovenia in a case brought by a group of Bosnian citizens over savings deposited in the Slovenian Ljubljanska Banka's Sarajevo subsidiary before the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
The Court demanded Slovenia compensate not only the plaintiffs, but also set up a scheme to repay all Bosnian and Croatian citizens that never managed to recover their foreign currency deposits in Ljubljanska Banka.
The dispute had remained unsolved for over twenty years because Slovenia wanted the bank deposits row to be solved as part of negotiations among all former Yugoslav states over the heritage of the extinct federation.
Slovenia and neighbouring Croatia were the first former Yugoslav republics to declare independence in 1991 and are the only two who have managed so far to join the European Union. Slovenia joined in 2004 and Croatia in 2013.