Immigration: President of EU Commission Reiterates His Support for Croatia’s Schengen Accession

Immigration: President of EU Commission Reiterates His Support for Croatia’s Schengen Accession

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

The President of the European Union Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has paid his first visit to Croatia, since he took office in November 2014, which according to him is also his first visit to Croatia in 15 years. Juncker arrived in Croatia last Thursday for a two-day visit, which started in Dubrovnik.

After a meeting with the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, President Juncker praised Croatia and its leadership for their achievements so far, and showed his support for the accession of the country to the border-less Schengen territory.

“I would like us [the EU Commission] to propose Croatia’s accession to the Schengen Area under our mandate. We have lost too much time, we will have to do it. And I would like the Council of Ministers to react to it properly,” President Juncker said after the meeting.

If Juncker’s statements come true, that means the commission will vote pro Croatia joining the Schengen Area before October, since that is when the current mandate of the EU Commission expires. After a positive recommendation by the EC, Croatia can join the block within 2020.

According to a press release of the Croatian government, the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said to President Juncker that Croatia has done a lot to join the Schengen.

Croatia expects to get a positive evaluation of its progress in fulfilling the criteria to access the Schengen Area before the end of this Commission’s term,” PM Plenkovic said.

Croatia is the last member country that joined the EU in 2013. It is one of the four EU countries that still haven’t joined the Schengen territory, alongside Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus, aside from the UK and Ireland that opted-out.

Voices supporting its accession have been more frequent recently. Last month, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself, said that Germany fully supports Croatia becoming part of the Schengen Block during a visit to the country.

I regard Croatia’s two goals, namely joining the euro in the next period as well as joining Schengen, as very realistic,” Merkel said added that Croatia is going in a good direction.

Yet, several countries have recently voiced their ideas that the Schengen Area should be rearranged, even proposing the expulsion of some member countries. On the other side, Romania and Bulgaria, which took a positive recommendation from the European Parliament in June 2011, are still not part of the area. Mostly because some countries as the Netherlands and France believe that both EU members, are still not ready to be part of the Schengen.

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