“If there is anything that shows concrete implementation of freedom and security, it’s visa systems and border control. In these times of economic crisis, some question the freedom of movement, without which the EU makes no sense. In order for that freedom to be ensured, functioning visa systems and outer border control is precisely what is needed. This project is a constituent part of the European idea of striking a balance between freedom and security. Thank you for all the work you’ve done,” said First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić at the closing ceremony of the National Visa System Support Project…
The National Visa System Support Project is a twinning light project between the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs worth 250,000 euro, financed through the European Commission. Addresses were delivered by Peter Stenlund, Undersecretary of State at the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, Assistant Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, while project leaders Päivi Blinnikka (Finland) and Maja Teider (Croatia) presented the six-month-long project’s main activities.
The EU membership has brought Croatia new challenges in regard to the visa system. The number of visa applications has drastically increased, while the future Schengen Area membership requires full adaptation to the respective regulations and procedures. The project saw numerous workshops for Croatian officials dealing with visas and border control. A report on Croatia’s visa legislature has been drawn up as part of preparations for Schengen.
“Our goal is to meet the criteria for entering the Schengen Area within two years after accession. All of our departments are working on that and this is what the citizens perceive as the benefits of joining the EU. Finland and Croatia have many similarities: size, location, interesting neighbourhood with a rich history and a need to resolve historical conflicts through political growth,” said Pusić, expressing hope that Croatia would continue to cooperate with Finland and other partner countries on twinning light projects. (MVEP)