President Not Worried by Delay on Decision on Croatia’s Schengen Accession

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 12, 2019 – President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Friday she did not consider the second postponement of a decision by the European Commission (EC) on Croatia’s technical preparedness to join the Schengen Area to be a “big delay” and recalled that the Union was now burdened with Brexit.

The EC’s decision on Croatia’s technical preparedness to join the Schengen Area is no longer on the agenda of a meeting of the College of Commissioners scheduled for October 16 and has been moved to the meeting on October 22.

“This isn’t a big delay,” Grabar-Kitarović told reporters in Athens, adding that perhaps this was due to technical reasons.

In a statement to the press after attending a meeting of the Arraiolos Group focusing on migration and the economic crisis, she expressed hope that “there won’t be any political obstruction,” and reiterated that she had told her European counterparts that their territory too was being protected on the Croatian border.

The president did not say who she was referring to when she mentioned “obstruction,” however neighbouring Slovenia has said on several occasions that Croatia’s accession to the Schengen Area might be conditional on it accepting the arbitration ruling on the border dispute with Slovenia.

The president stated that Croatia was concerned about the increasing number of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and refugee camps being set up along the EU border and the poor conditions in them despite the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina has received financial donations from some EU member states to accommodate the migrants.

EU enlargement to Southeast Europe “is the only guarantee of lasting stability and security,” she said.

The “slow” focusing of Brussels on the countries in Southeast Europe aspiring for EU accession – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia is creating a vacuum which then is being “filled by some third parties that are not necessarily well-meaning, and that poses a “security threat on the very borders of the EU,” she said.

Messages from Brussels “have to be a lot clearer” and followed up with “concrete acts,” Grabar-Kitarović told reporters. Otherwise people in those countries will turn to other options, she said without elaborating.

During his recent visit to Montenegro and North Macedonia, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of growing Russian and Chinese influence.

With reference to Turkey, Grabar-Kitarović recalled that in January she had told her Turkish counterpart that Croatia supported Turkey’s pathway to the EU and that it was “exceptionally important to keep Turkey on the European pathway.”

She believes that neither side should be blackmailing the other and that Brussels had to meet its financial obligations toward Turkey, which has accommodated almost three million refugees from Syria.

“If you let the migrants through, the first victims will be your neighbours in the Balkans,” countries in southeast Europe, she said.

More news about Croatia and the Schengen Area can be found in the Politics section.


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