The opinion of the European Parliament is not binding on the Council, but constitutes a procedural step that cannot be avoided.
The decision to initiate the procedure was made on Wednesday at a meeting of the Committee of Representatives, which consists of the ambassadors of the EU member states.
The draft Council Decision “on the full application of the provisions of the Schengen acquis in the Republic of Croatia” was sent to the European Parliament together with a letter to Parliament President Roberta Metsola.
“It is my pleasure to inform you that the Council has decided on 29 June 2022 to consult the European Parliament on a draft Council Decision on the full application of the Schengen acquis in the Republic of Croatia. The Council would be grateful if the European Parliament could kindly submit its opinion as soon as possible,” says the letter, seen by Hina.
After the European Parliament receives the letter, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will appoint a rapporteur to prepare a draft opinion, which will first be discussed by the Committee. After it is adopted by the Committee, it will be sent for further adoption at a plenary session of Parliament.
It is expected that the European Parliament will vote on a final opinion at one of the two plenary sessions scheduled for October. That will pave the way for a final decision that requires the consensus of 22 EU members of the Schengen area.
The Schengen area currently consists of 26 European countries, four of which are not EU members and have no voting rights – Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Council decision might also be adopted in October.
Should there be no unforeseen obstacles, in the tenth year of its EU membership Croatia would simultaneously join the Schengen area and the euro area, the two closest integration associations at the core of the European Union.
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