Diplomat says Croatia’s Schengen entry means recognition of arbitration

Ljubljana – Vojko Volk, a seasoned diplomat and advisor to Prime Minister Robert Golob, has told Večer that by entering the Schengen Area, Croatia would, legally speaking, recognise the borders of the countries that are already members of the area, including Slovenia, and thus indirectly also the border arbitration decision.

The state secretary for international affairs at the prime minister’s office said in an interview for the newspaper’s Saturday supplement that the reason for this was the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement, the key document that Croatia has to respect as it enters the Schengen Area.

The convention says in Article 1 that the external borders of the Schengen Area are the contracting parties’ land and sea borders, Volk said, adding that “after the accession of Croatia, the border between Croatia and Slovenia becomes an internal Schengen border and thus de facto irrelevant.”

“But this is only until it happens that we have to temporarily suspend Schengen. If we have to do this on the border with Croatia, it will of course be clear that the border at sea is where it is determined by the arbitration decision,” he added.

The prime minister’s advisor said that a time when the Schengen Area is not functioning, Croatia’s accession is a “complicated task”, adding that “Schengen will have to be restarted, repaired if necessary, so that it is functional again, otherwise we risk the enlargements failing to meet our expectations and hopes.”