Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša said on Wednesday at a press conference with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, that he supported Croatia, Bulgaria, and Romania entering the EU's border-free Schengen Area because it would increase the security of the entire bloc.
Janša also supported EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, saying many problems there, including border issues, would be taken off the agenda with the accession of those countries.
EU enlargement is in our common interest. It should be our strategic response to numerous challenges, he added.
He said that when the EU was dealing with the financial and then the migrant crisis, neglecting enlargement, some other factors started expanding their influence in the Western Balkans.
Those foreign factors don’t have the same values as we in the European Union, he added, saying that a European perspective was the answer.
We can solve problems by making borders less important. Slovenia is now part of the European Union and Schengen, where there are no physical borders, he added.
Janša announced an EU-Western Balkan summit for October 6 in Slovenia during Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU which is set to begin on July 1.
The statement comes after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said in Brussels on Tuesday after a two-day extraordinary summit of EU leaders that Croatia was on the right track to join the Schengen area in 2022; and enter the euro zone shortly afterwards.
During his stay in Brussels, Plenković held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the summit in an attempt to raise awareness about the fact that the European Commission had already given a green light to Croatia and that they had met all the technical criteria to join the Schengen area.
The prime minister added that the political decision to this effect would be considered after his talks with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, scheduled for next Monday.
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