Brussels – Coming out of a meeting of EU home affairs ministers, Slovenia’s Aleš Hojs said it had been agreed that Croatia meets the conditions for entering the Schengen Area, and that it was a key step towards a final decision on the expansion of the no-passport zone. Hojs believes other steps will follow relatively soon.
“Ministers of the interior have concluded that Croatia has fulfilled the required conditions for the application of all parts of the Schengen acquis,” the Slovenian EU presidency announced on Twitter after the session.
Hojs, who chaired the session, confirmed this at a press conference, saying that it was something that had perhaps seemed impossible before the start of the Slovenian presidency.
This important achievement is the first step towards Croatia joining the Schengen zone, the minister said, expressing confidence that other steps will follow relatively quickly and that there will soon be no border between Slovenia and Croatia.
On arriving for the meeting, Hojs expressed optimism that the ministers would back resolutions on Croatia being prepared to join the Schengen Area as a required step before the decision on the accession, which is taken by consensus.
According to unofficial information, only the Netherlands and Sweden had some reservations, which were allegedly procedural, and were removed today.
The European Commission adopted the decision that Croatia meets the requirements for entering Schengen Area in October 2019.
It is not clear when the final decision will be made and this will also depend on the reform of the Schengen Area, which the Commission will present next week. A lot will also depend on the next, French EU presidency.
France has so far been among the countries that have been reserved to the expansion of the Schengen Area, which currently features 26 countries, including 22 EU countries. Slovenia joined the no-passport zone in December 2007.