President Emmanuel Macron has spoken in favour of Croatia’s Schengen accession and the decision is up to the heads of state or government, the source said when asked if a decision on Croatia’s accession could be expected during the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first half of this year.
Before that, it is necessary to agree on the first stage of the Pact on Migration and Asylum, which includes external border protection and the registration of all aliens entering the EU, the source said. That seems reasonable to me and the heads of state or government will decide on that, he added.
The source said the adoption of the pact should be divided into three stages. The goal is to reach an agreement on such an approach and adopt conclusions on the first stage by March. That is an agreement on better external border protection and the registration of all migrants.
The first stage includes striking a balance between solidarity and responsibility, between readiness to share the migration pressure with the member states along the external borders and responsibility for the protection of those borders. This envisages an agreement on arrangements for keeping migrants on the external borders in order to check their identity for security reasons.
It’s necessary to first agree on the strengthening of the external borders, in which the first stage of the migration package is important, and then one can talk about Schengen enlargement, the French government source said.
Visiting Zagreb in November, Macron supported Croatia’s accession to the Schengen and euro areas.
France supports Croatia’s Schengen accession. Croatia has shown that it is ready and has complied with the process, confirming that it is firmly organised and capable of protecting its own borders, the external borders of the Union, against smuggling, he said.
Macron also said that with Croatia’s accession, Schengen would become more effective, adding that the Schengen regime needed to reform and that France would work on it while chairing the Council of the EU.