(Photo: Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL) (Photo: Hrvoje Jelavic/PIXSELL)

On October 22nd in Strasbourg, France, the College of Commissioners will evaluate Croatia's progress in meeting the criteria required for joining the EU's passport-free travel area.

Numerous prerequisites must be met in order to join the Schengen Area, since Croatia would be tasked with controlling the EU's external borders (on land, at sea, and in airports), issuing Schengen visas on behalf of the other member states, and establishing efficient cooperation with security authorities.

And in addition to the Commission's evaluation on the country's technical preparedness, member states must also unanimously agree on which countries get to join the fold. This could pose a stumbling block for Croatia since Slovenia continues to insist on the implementation of a controversial border arbitration ruling.

Bulgaria and Romania, for example, have had a positive evaluation since 2011 but have still not joined Schengen because there is still no consensus among the member states.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said last month that it was difficult to predict when Croatia would join the Schengen but that the goal was to receive a positive evaluation by the Commission this year that Croatia had met all the criteria.

Source: HINA