Tonino Picula’s Amendment on Croatia’s Schengen Entry Adopted – Conference in June

Lauren Simmonds

Croatia comes ever closer to entering the Schengen Area.

A key amendment from Croatian MEP Tonino Picula, that Croatia should become a member of the Schengen area as soon as it meets the criteria required, has been adopted by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament.

“I’ve called upon the [European] Council to respect the process that will allow Croatia to enter Schengen when it meets the necessary criteria! I also emphasised that the free movement of people, services, goods and capital, the EU’s core values ​​for the single market, must not be jeopardised due to the known deficits of the common European asylum system,” said Picula.

Last year, Tonino Picula asked the European Commission to evaluate Croatia’s progress in meeting the necessary criteria, and whether it would assume the role of the mediator in case of any possible blockages of the country’s entry, even if all of the criteria are met. In addition, on the initiative of the S&D Group, the topic of Croatia’s entry into Schengen was given priority in a plenary Parliament session in December 2017.

European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said that ”Croatia would play an important role in protecting the EU’s borders”.

Commissioner Avramopoulos should be one of the speakers at a conference of a high level – “Schengen – Achievements and Expectations”, which is being organised by Tonino Picula at the beginning of June in Croatia. The Bulgarian and Croatian Interior Ministers, Valentin Radev, and Davor Božinović, as well as Romania’s Interior Minister Carmen Daniela DAN, have all confirmed their expected arrival at the upcoming conference.

This is the second international conference on European security organised by Tonino Picula in his mandate. The first, held in June last year, placed its focus on the European defense union. The importance of this topic can be easily highlighted by pointing out the fact that the European Commission proposed triple the amount of external management expenditure in its new budget, as well as an increase in investment in security by as much as 40 percent.

“Entry into Schengen is a priority for Croatia. We have a good opportunity to withdraw substantial EU external border management tools from EU funds. Croatia has the longest external EU border, and by strengthening its protection, it can contribute to effective migration management. In addition to that fact, as an extremely touristic country, Croatia’s entrance into Schengen would make the arrival of tourists significantly easier,” concluded Picula.


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