ZAGREB, 12 March 2021 – Croatia has fulfilled 281 recommendations in eight areas of the Schengen acquis, successfully completing the four-year Schengen evaluation procedure, the Ministry of Interior said on Friday.
Friday’s meeting of the Informal Council for the Interior was held via video conference and was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia and the Minister of the Interior, Davor Božinović and State Secretary for European and International Affairs and European Union Funds Terezija Gras.
The most important point for Croatia at today’s Council of Interior Ministers of the European Union was dedicated to the Schengen evaluation of Croatia.
The Portuguese Presidency and Commissioner Johansson informed the Council that Croatia had successfully completed the Schengen evaluation process, which began in June 2015 and ended in May 2019.
In the process of assessing readiness for membership in the Schengen area, Croatia fulfilled 281 recommendations in eight areas of the Schengen acquis, of which 145 recommendations referred only to the area of external border control.
At the beginning of February this year, the Council confirmed that Croatia has fulfilled all the recommendations in this most demanding area of evaluation.
In the past two weeks, bilateral meetings were held with four member states, which had some reservations about whether Croatia really meets all the conditions for membership in the Schengen area.
On March 2, Božinović held a meeting with all ambassadors of EU member states accredited to Croatia, where he reported in detail on all actions taken by Croatia over the past three and a half years to ensure full implementation of all Schengen standards.
The ministers accepted the report of the Portuguese presidency and Commissioner Johansson without discussion, thus confirming the completion of the Schengen evaluation process for Croatia.
The task and goal of Croatia is now to prepare everything necessary for the adoption of a political decision of the Council of the EU on the membership of Croatia in the Schengen area.
“Croatia has successfully passed the most comprehensive and detailed evaluations that no EU member state has encountered so far. Today’s decision of the EU Council recognised Croatia for achieving a high level of institutional capacity of the Croatian police, the Directorate for European Affairs, International Relations and European Union Funds and the entire Ministry of the Interior for fulfilling a total of 281 recommendations identified in the evaluation process.
Commissioner Johansson emphasised that this was the final confirmation of Croatia’s readiness to join Schengen, while the President of the EU Council, Portuguese Minister of the Interior Eduardo Cabrita, supported the enlargement of the Schengen area to Croatia. step, and that is the adoption of a political decision of the Council of the EU on Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area,” said Minister Božinović.
No date has been set for when Croatia will officially joining the Schengen Area but there has been talk that it should happen before the end of 2022.