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Slovenia supports Croatia’s bids to join eurozone and passport-free Schengen area

ZAGREB, Sept 1 (Hina) – Slovenia supports Croatia’s bids to join the eurozone and the passport-free Schengen area, which will be good both for Croatia and for Slovenia, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in an interview with Slovenian television following the Bled Strategic Forum on Monday when he met his Slovenian counterpart.

“Prime Minister Janez Jansa was very clear. Slovenia supports Croatia’s membership in the eurozone as well as of the Schengen area. I think that is good both for Croatia and for Slovenia,” the Croatian PM said.

Asked whether the Slovenian prime minister had set any conditions for the support, Plenkovic said he could not see why there should be any conditions. “I think it is good that Croatia has a firmer, less porous border. That is good for all our neighbours within the European Union, most of all for Slovenia.”

Asked if he had discussed with Jansa the implementation of the arbitration ruling concerning the border dispute between the two countries, Plenkovic reiterated Croatia’s position that for it this ruling does not exist from the legal point of view.

“On the other hand, there are certainly elements in the arbitration ruling that we can agree with, but in our opinion, the arbitration process was unfortunately contaminated and we cannot accept it,” Plenkovic said, calling for dialogue in settling the border dispute.

“We are ready to discuss the border. That is the most important. If there is goodwill on both sides, we will strive to find a solution that will satisfy both countries,” he added.

Plenkovic said that he had discussed the matter with the Slovenian prime minister several times, including at the Bled Forum on Monday.

As for efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Plenkovic said he had suggested to Jansa that the epidemiological situation in Croatia should be looked at by county rather than at the national level as has been the case so far. He cited a model used by Germany which monitors the number of coronavirus cases for each Croatian county.

Plenkovic said that as far as he knew Slovenia was using this approach in monitoring the situation in Italy where the number of new COVID-19 infections differs from region to region. He said that Jansa had told him that Slovenia would consider this proposal.

Asked if Slovenia could expect Croatian tourists this winter, Plenkovic said it did not seem questionable to him for Croatians to go on skiing trips to Slovenia, Italy, and Austria. “I am confident that over a certain period of time, with the measures being adopted by our respective countries, we will achieve a normal flow of people again,” Plenkovic said.

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