19:42 / 29.06.2022.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

Council of the European Union initiates procedure for Croatia to join Schengen

Bregana border crossing with Slovenia

Bregana border crossing with Slovenia

Foto: Marko Prpic / PIXSELL

The move is expected to pave the way for Croatia to simultaneously join the Schengen area and the Eurozone on January 1st, 2023. The border-free area consists of 26 European countries - 22 of which are in the EU.

The Council of the European Union has initiated the procedure for deciding on Croatia's admission to the Schengen area. The Council proposed that border controls at Croatia's land and sea borders with Schengen countries be abolished as of January 1st of 2023, and at airports as of March 26th of next year. The reason behind the different dates has been put down to technical issues, specifically because at airports in Schengen countries it is necessary to change the exits for aircraft coming and going from Croatia in order to separate passengers and direct citizens from the Schengen area to exits without border controls.

The decision-making procedure for accession to Schengen provides for the opinion of the European Parliament to be sought before a final decision of the Council of the European Union, which is not binding, but is a procedural step that cannot be circumvented. Parliament could vote on its final opinion at one of the two plenary sessions scheduled for October. In the absence of any unforeseen obstacles, Croatia would thus become a member of the Schengen area and the Eurozone at the same time in the tenth year of its membership in the European Union. Membership of both Schengen an the Eurozone have been key foreign policy goals for Croatia since joining the EU in 2013, and priorities for the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

Source: HRT

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