ZAGREB, February 19, 2018 – As a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Schengen area of passport-free movement, Slovakia wants to see Croatia join the two organisations, Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok said on Monday in Zagreb, where he arrived to share his country’s experience in the presidency of the EU.
Korčok recalled that to join the Schengen area his country had to meet 160 criteria. Slovakia has been following and helping Croatia so that it can be successful in that regard too, the Slovak foreign minister told reporters after talks with his Croatian host, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić.
Korčok, who is acting foreign minister for the duration of Miroslav Lajčak’s year-long term as president of the UN General Assembly, said that his country wanted Croatia to join the Schengen area for two reasons.
It will facilitate travel for Slovak nationals who prefer to spend their summer holidays in Croatia and contribute to the common future in Europe and to making the Schengen area bigger and stronger, according to Korčok.
Croatia hopes to meet the necessary conditions by the end of this year and be ready to join the Schengen area in 2019. Even though at the end of last year the European Parliament supported Croatia’s accession to that area, it is not certain what position Slovenia will take on the matter because it is currently opposed to this on account of its border arbitration dispute with Croatia.
Commenting on the dispute, Korčok said that Slovenia and Croatia were two mature and responsible countries and that his country was fully confident that Croatia and Slovenia would find a solution.
Pejčinović Burić said that Korčok led the Slovak presidency of the EU in the second half of 2016 and that Croatia wanted to learn from the best ahead of its EU presidency in the first half of 2020. She said that she believed that, with preparation and assistance, Croatia would successfully chair the EU.
Korčok said that EU presidency was demanding for two reasons – during the six-month period citizens and politicians have to get used to giving EU interests priority over national interests, and EU presidency is a major challenge in terms of organisation.
Pejčinović Burić said that aside from EU presidency she discussed with her guest other EU topics as well, stressing that the two countries had excellent political and economic relations.