Romania and Croatia Advocate for Entry into Schengen

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 9, 2018 – Romania wants to join the Schengen passport-free travel zone as soon as possible and fully supports Croatia in the same efforts, Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu said at a meeting with his Croatian counterpart Marija Pejčinović Burić in Zagreb on Friday. It is in the interests of both Romania and Bulgaria to join the Schengen area as soon as possible, Melescanu said at a joint press conference. We, of course, give full support to Croatia to join Schengen, he added.

One of the topics discussed was consolidation of the EU’s external borders, and Melescanu said that Romania would make its contribution to border management in light of migrations facing the European Union.

Commenting on the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, Melescanu said that his country strongly supported political dialogue, adding that international law and international mechanisms should be used to solve this issue as quickly as possible.

Both Croatia and Romania share their borders with Western Balkan countries and support their aspirations to join the European Union. Croatia and Romania can help them in that regard, Pejčinović Burić said, recalling that the enlargement issue would be one of Croatia’s priorities during its EU presidency.

The two countries are preparing to assume the EU’s six-month rotating presidency for the first time. Romania will do so in the first half of 2019 and Croatia in the first half of 2020. In this regard, they are cooperating with Finland, which will serve as EU president in the second half of 2019. We welcome the EU strategy for the Western Balkans. It is an important step for the European path of this region, Melescanu said.

Asked by the press if it was realistic for Serbia to enter the EU in 2025, as stated in the strategy, both ministers said this was a tentative date. It is a target year, a motivation and encouragement. It is a message to all the countries in the region that the door remains open after they implement the reforms, Melescanu said. Pejčinović Burić said that it should not be taken as a fixed date. She said that apart from the reforms, also important was the political will of all the member states to support Serbia’s accession.

The two ministers expressed their satisfaction with increased trade between Croatia and Romania. Last year, trade reached 304 million euro, with Croatian exports to Romania increasing by 38%, while the number of Romanian tourists to Croatia rose by 13.5% to over 100,000, Pejčinović Burić said, citing figures from November 2017.

She said that launching a direct flight between Zagreb and Bucharest during the summer season was a good move, and possibilities of extending flights to the rest of the year would be discussed. The ministers also discussed ways of strengthening cooperation in the defence sector, transport and energy.

The two countries are members of the Danube Strategy. Romania will preside over this initiative in 2019 and Croatia has announced its presidency for 2020.

Melescanu and Pejčinović Burić said they were very proud of the high standards of protection of the Croatian minority in Carasova and the Romanian minority in Istria, adding that both governments extended systematic support to the respective minorities in language learning.

At the end of their meeting, the two ministers signed a protocol on cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs, and Melescanu invited Pejčinović Burić to visit Romania.

This year Romania presides over the Three Seas Initiative and will host its summit, which is expected to be attended by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. 2018 will also see meetings between the two countries’ defence and agriculture ministers, and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has been invited to visit Bucharest.


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