The European Commission is facing strong criticisms from different sectors, especially Slovenian officials, for its announcement on October 22, 2019, that Croatia has taken the measures necessary to ensure that the conditions for the application of all the Schengen rules and standards are met.
Marjan Sarec, Slovenian Prime Minister called the European Commission’s announcement, which has virtually given Croatia the green light to join the Schengen for having met the technical conditions, a political decision. He argued that Croatia’s implementation of the arbitration ruling on its border dispute with his country should be done first.
“We regret that the European Commission decided on such an important matter, the assessment of Croatia’s preparedness to join Schengen just before the end of its term and that it adopted a political decision,” PM Sarec asserted.
The side of Slovenia had previously urged the European Commission not to decide on the Croatian case at the very end of its term but defer it to the coming commission.
Slovenian politician and an MEP from Slovenia Tanja Fajon considered the decision made by the Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker unacceptable.
“We would like very much to see Croatia join Schengen, but only after it had met all the conditions. It seems that’s not the reality. Reports by non-governmental organizations reveal what happens on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Fajon said.
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos had a meeting with Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister on October 23, 2019, in Zagreb. In that meeting, he expressed his worry that with Croatia in the Schengen Area, the European Union could be more ably face migration and security challenges.
Slovenian PM Sarec revealed his concerns on immigration challenges as he pointed out that Slovenia had so far received 12,000 illegal migrants that passed through Croatia this year.
Milan Brglez, Slovenian Member of Parliament was also disappointed with the decision of the Commission but at the same time pointed out that the final judgment will be coming from the EU Council.
“I regret the move by the outgoing European Commission. Instead of eliminating internal borders … it is giving the false hope of the expansion of Schengen,” Brglez quoted.
Like PM Sarec, Slovenian Parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan, the Social Democrats (SD) head, described the decision political. The European Commission, in its report on October 22, is convinced Croatia had taken the steps necessary to ensure that it meets the conditions for complying with all the Schengen rules and standards. They determined however that Croatia needs to continue its activities on the implementation of currently pursued actions, focusing on external borders management.