The European Commission confirmed that Croatia has met all the technical requirements to join the Schengen Area. On October 22, 2019, the European Commission recommended that Croatia be included among the countries in the Schengen territory. The Croatian online newspaper vecernji.hr had earlier reported that the EU Commission would most likely come out with its statement giving Croatia the green light to join the Schengen area in late September.
Since its application for membership, Croatia exerted continuous efforts and made progress to fulfill the requirements for joining the Schengen area. This was emphasized by the Croatian Prime Minister Andrei Plenkovic in a recent meeting with Claude Juncker, the outgoing President of the European Union Commission.
As Croatia expected, it got a positive evaluation of the progress of its efforts in fulfilling the requirements to access the Schengen area before the end of the Commission’s term.
President Juncker commended Croatia’s leadership and achievements as he supported the country’s accession to the borderless Schengen territory before his mandate ended on November 1, 2019.
“I would like us [the EU Commission] to propose Croatia’s accession to the Schengen Area under our mandate. We have lost too much time; we will have to do it. And I would like the Council of Ministers to react to it properly,” President Juncker stated at that time.
Juncker is not alone in support of Croatia’s goal to be part of the Schengen. During her visit to the country in May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed Germany’s support for Croatia joining the Schengen.
“I regard Croatia’s two goals, namely joining the Euro in the next period as well as joining Schengen, as very realistic,” Merkel declared.
On the other hand, there is opposition from several other EU officials on Croatia becoming part of the Schengen at this time. Many have even proposed the expulsion of some member countries from Schengen.
Four EU countries have not joined the Schengen territory as of now. Croatia, who is the last member country that joined the European Union in 2013, is still not a member of Schengen along with three other countries – Bulgaria, Romania, and Cyprus. The UK and Ireland have opted out of the EU.