Tuesday, May 25, 2021

PM Plenković: Decision on Croatia’s Entry to Schengen Zone Could Be Taken This Year

Croatia’s long-sought-after entry into the borderless area of Schengen could be put on the agenda of the European Union Council between July 1 and December 21 this year, the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, has said.

His comments came after a meeting held in Brussels with the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, regarding this process, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Talking about his country’s final accession into the Schengen Area, Plenković added that Slovenia would chair the Council from July 1. Croatia’s Prime Minister emphasized that the government has excellent overall relations with Slovenia, adding that it would be great if that happened during Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council.

He once again stressed that the government had fulfilled all the requirements needed for his country to become the newest member of the Schengen Zone.

“To my direct question whether there is any other act that the Commission needs to adopt towards the Council to possibly support our ambition to become a Schengen member, the clear, firm and unequivocal answer is no,” Plenković pointed out in this regard.

According to the Croatian Prime Minister, talks were being held with the European Union Member States to choose the most appropriate and favourable moment for the issue of the country’s membership in Schengen to be on the Council.

“I think that, when we look at the overall, very good relations we have now with Slovenia, it would be a great signal for Croatia for something like this to happen during the Slovenian presidency of the EU Council,” Plenković has emphasized.

When asked whether some Schengen Area countries could be discouraged by the reports on non-governmental organizations regarding the violations of asylum regulations on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plenkovic said that “we were ready to answer all questions.”

“All monitoring mechanisms that are necessary within our system are available to eliminate any objections,” Plenković went on saying.

For many years now, Croatia has been trying to become part of the Schengen Area. However, despite confirmations that the country has met all the criteria, the process has not been finalized yet.

In October 2019, the European Commission concluded that the country had fulfilled all the Schengen Area requirements. However, Croatia has been criticized many times by the European Union Parliament for the brutal treatment of migrants by the police.

Last year, the EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said that she wants Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to join the Schengen Zone, adding that the EU should update and strengthen this zone with new members.

In March this year, Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenković stressed that it is reasonable to expect Croatia to become part of the Schengen Area by the second half of 2024.

The Prime Minister stressed that by that time, besides the Schengen Zone, Croatia would also be part of the Eurozone.

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