Paris understands Croatia’s wish to be admitted to the Schengen area, France’s Foreign and Europe Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said during his visit to Zagreb.
Zagreb is thankful for France’s permanent support of Croatia’s efforts to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said his Croatian counterpart, Gordan Grlić Radman.
Asked by the press whether Paris would increase lobbying in favour of Croatia’s Schengen membership in exchange for Zagreb opting for French Rafales in one of the four bids for the procurement of multipurpose fighter jets for the Croatian Air Force, Le Drian dismissed the idea.
“You imagine that we may think of Rafale in exchange for Schengen membership, but things do not work that way in foreign relations,” said the French minister.
“France insists on two additional elements for the Schengen area – Schengen area management and permanent assessment of whether the member states meet the Schengen area criteria,” he added.
“Croatia has the longest land border in the EU, 1,150 kilometres, and the country has not finished the job of technical preparation for the Schengen area,” said Le Drian.
(Željko Trkanjec | EURACTIV.hr)