Metsola: Croatia Should Join Schengen Swiftly, All Else Would be Shameful

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Not one member state should block Croatia, she added.

I will answer as a politician, I’m tired of talks with countries which have spent years trying to meet the criteria and when they do, there is no political decision. I think it would be shameful if that next step is not taken, she said about Croatia’s Schengen entry.

Metsola thinks it would be important if that took place during the French EU presidency, which ends on 30 June.

Member states should not hide behind technical reasons when the motives are political, she said, adding that the decision on admitting Croatia to Schengen should be full and swift.

There is speculation that Slovenia, which has an unsolved territorial dispute with Croatia, might block Croatia’s entry.

Its future prime minister Robert Golob has said that he will insist on honouring the border arbitration from which Croatia withdrew due to Slovenia’s covert influence on the judges. The likely foreign minister Tanja Fajon said as an MEP last year that Croatia was not ready for Schengen.

Reviewing EU Treaties

Thirteen member states, including Croatia, do not support a proposal to change the EU treaties, which is one of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe supported by French President Emmanuel Macron and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden feel that the EU can successfully manage crises as part of the current treaties, as proven by the fight against COVID-19 and the response to the Russian aggression on Ukraine.

In a non-paper, they criticise the European Parliament, without mentioning it explicitly, for instrumentalising the Conference on the Future of Europe for its institutional interests.

Metsola said the EU treaties should be changed only in some areas while in others, such as migration, tools were available which the EU was not using.

We should change where it is necessary and we should not be afraid of that, she added.

Negotiations on issues such as veto rights will be difficult but the Parliament will be very open to all options on the table, she said.

Supporting European political community

French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday pushed for creating a European political community to increase the EU’s cooperation with other European countries whose accession is not realistic in the near future.

He feels that cooperation with them only through European integration blocks energy, cultural and other forms of cooperation to a certain extent.

If it’s possible to go step by step towards integration before full membership, Parliament will support that, said Metsola. European integration is more a question of how we do something than  of a date, she added.

Metsola also said that the sanctions against Russia should be fully complied with not only by all member states but also those wishing to join the EU.


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