18:01 / 10.05.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Metsola: Admit Croatia to Schengen quickly, everything else would be shameful

Roberta Metsola

Roberta Metsola

Foto: Ludovic Marin / Reuters

“Croatia should be admitted to the Schengen area soon, already during the French presidency, and any blockade would be shameful,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola told the Hina news agency. She said no member state should block Croatia.

“That's where I'll answer you as a politician. I am tired of talking to countries that have spent years trying to meet the criteria and then when they meet them, there is no political decision. I think it would be a shame not to take this next step,” said the President of the European Parliament, talking about Croatia's entry into Schengen.

She believes that it would be important for this to happen during the current French presidency of the Union by June 30, 2022. Roberta Metsola stressed that member states should not hide behind technical reasons, where political reasons are motives.

It is speculated that Slovenia could block Croatia

Following the defeat of Janez Jansa's Slovenian Democratic Party in Slovenia's parliamentary elections, there is speculation that Slovenia, with which Croatia has an unresolved territorial dispute, could block Croatia's access. Election winner and future Prime Minister Robert Golob said that, unlike Janša, he would insist on arbitration from which Croatia withdrew due to Slovenian influence on judges that was uncovered.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs will probably become the President of the Social Democrats, Tanja Fajon, who, as an MEP last year, pointed out that Croatia is not ready to enter the Schengen area.

On amending the EU Treaty

Last week, the European Parliament called for a convention to amend the EU Treaty, citing a request from citizens at the Conference on the Future of Europe to call for, for example, the lifting of foreign and security policy vetoes, a referendum at the European level and a direct election of the Commission.

The request was backed by French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday, while 13 EU member states, including Croatia, have explicitly opposed the convention.

The signatory states believe that the EU can successfully manage crises within the current agreements, as evidenced by the fight against COVID and the response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine. The non-paper criticizes the European Parliament, although not explicitly mentioned, for instrumentalizing the Conference on the Future of Europe for its institutional interests.

Metsola pointed out that the European Parliament deserved credit for initiating the debate on the convention, and that this idea, if it were not for the resolution, would not have been supported by other European institutions. The Malta native stressed that she believes that EU Treaties need to be changed only in some areas, while in others, such as migration, there are already "available tools" that the Union does not use.

"We should change where it is needed and we should not be afraid of it," she said. Metsola noted that negotiations on issues such as the veto will be difficult and that "parliament will be very open to all options on the table".

Support for the "European political community"

French President Emmanuel Macron called in Strasbourg on Monday for the creation of a "European political community" to boost EU co-operation with other European countries, as those countries' EU accession is not realistic in the near future. The format of cooperation with other European countries only through European integration blocks to a certain extent energy, cultural and other cooperation, according to the French president.

“If there is an opportunity to go step by step towards future integration before we have full membership, Parliament will support it. I think it is (European integration) more a question of how we do something than a question of date,” Metsola said in an interview.

The President of the EP also emphasized that sanctions against Russia should be "fully" adhered to not only by all members of the Union, but also by countries that want to become part of it.

Source: HRT

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