The European Commission today responded to claims from Human Rights Watch, which issued a report claiming that the commission's conclusions in October regarding Croatia's technical readiness to join the Schengen Border Area are false.
The Human Rights Watch NGO claims that it has evidence that Croatia is forcefully returning migrants at its border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, commission spokeswoman Tove Ernst said on Friday that the commission had rejected HRW’s allegations.
"The situation regarding fundamental human rights was part of the commission's assessment, when we prepared our assessment of Croatia's compliance with requirements for application to the Schengen Acquis. So this was included in the report that we published just three weeks ago. And as we concluded in this report, having taken into consideration the measures taken by the Croatian authorities to improve the protection of human rights, we consider that Croatia continues to fulfil its commitment in relation to the protection of human rights," Ernst said.
The issue of when Croatia’s bid to join the Schengen Border Area will be addressed was also discussed, with Ernst adding: "Now it’s time for the council to take the matter forward when it comes to the accession to the Schengen Border Area."
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