Croatia Hopes to Enter Schengen Area after 2018

Total Croatia News

While some countries are leaving the EU, others hope for more integration.

Croatia should complete preparations for entry into the Schengen Area by the end of the year, while the official entry into the zone of free movement within the EU could happen after 2018, it was announced on Friday by senior government officials, reports HRT on July 1, 2016.

After entering the European Union exactly three years ago, the next challenge for Croatia is a membership in the free movement zone, which includes 22 of the 28 EU member states and four countries which are not in the EU.

Croatian foreign and interior ministers Miro Kovač and Vlaho Orepić talked about the issue at a conference marking three years since Croatia’s entry into the EU which happened on 1 July 2013. “I think that all preparations could be completed by the end of the year”, said Orepić.

Kovač added that, due to elections in Germany and France next year, it was not realistic that Croatia could enter the Schengen Area before 2018. “After that, we will have new leaderships in these two core countries in Europe. I think that from 2018 onwards it is possible for Croatia to join the Schengen Area”, said Kovač.

The European Commission has made available to Croatia 120 million euros to adjust to the standards. So far, 81 percent of the funds have been used. “All this shows that Croatia is moving in a good direction, and the Schengen represents a further step in the maturation of the country”, said Orepić.

Europeans each year make more than one billion travels within the Schengen Area which represents a great potential for Croatia, said the head of the Representation of the European Commission Branko Baričević. “Croatia is on track to achieve this goal, but it still needs to meet the criteria which will contribute to the maintenance of security, trust and freedom of movement”, he said.

The implementation of the Schengen regime began in 1995 between seven EU member states, and the area now includes a large part of the Union, with the exception of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Bulgaria and Romania are in the process of joining, while Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein are part of the Schengen Area, although they are not members of the European Union.

The area without internal border controls is named after the village of Schengen in Luxembourg where the agreement on the gradual abolition of controls at common borders between EU member states was signed in 1985.


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