PM hopeful Zagreb could soon get green light to join Schengen

“Generally, the Schengen acquis, we are ready, the legal standards, we are ready, the protection of the border, we are completely ready,” Plenković told EU lawmakers. [EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET]

The Council of the EU will next week send a formal proposal about Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area in 2023 to the European Parliament, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković told the EU assembly in Brussels on Wednesday, saying the decision should be endorsed because Zagreb was fully ready.

“Generally, the Schengen acquis, we are ready, the legal standards, we are ready, the protection of the border, we are completely ready,” Plenković told EU lawmakers.

“Plus, we are a country that never made a political decision to elevate walls or fences, or barbed wires, not with Serbia, not with Bosnia-Herzegovina, not with Montenegro. These are friends, neighbours, with whom we should not have physical barriers.”

If confirmed, the Schengen accession will happen in parallel with Croatia adopting the euro on 1 January 2023, marking the newest EU member’s graduation into mainstream Europe 30 years after the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia.

Plenkovic said Croatia’s 1,300-kilometre-long border, mostly rugged mountainous terrain with Bosnia-Herzegovina, is guarded by more than 6,000 Croatian policemen, “under total scrutiny of the entire ministry of interior.”

“Every single complaint is checked and verified,” Plenković said, hinting at earlier media reports of violent pushbacks and physical abuse of refugees and migrants at the hands of the police.

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