It’s the most recent member of the European Union and it only took a significant step towards connecting the Schengen Zone also. In a time once the remainder of the Western Balkans appear to be lagging, Croatia is regarded as the huge success story of the area.
International Conversation talked to the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenkovic to Go over the country’s accomplishments, the Upcoming challenges, but also the challenges of the broader area.
To observe the complete interview please click on the player over.
The Schengen Zone
The decision came as a surprise to many because recently, Europe appears to be closing in rather than opening up. Are you fearful that you may not understand the end of the street?”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia:”Well, to start with, the conclusion of the faculty of the European Commission, of Jean-Claude Juncker’s Commission in Strasbourg a week is truly a fruit of four years work by Croatia, by fulfilling the standards that are ordered in eight distinct chapters of their so-called Schengen acquis. In each (all) of those chapters, we’ve been able to increase the willingness of Croatia to participate in Schengen. This was a comprehensive technical analysis from the Commission services”
Croatia and Slovenia boundary
The Slovenian side has cautioned that it may even veto your path to the Schengen Zone when there’s no solution. Can you find any alternative in the not too distant future?”
Had this been a requirement for the two states to join the EU or to join the Schengen, afterward Slovenia wouldn’t have entered in both of the two internal cycles”
For us it’s the Savudrija Bay, for these, it’s that the Piran Bay. In the conclusion of the day, we could get a solution.”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia: “I’m confident we can a remedy. What we’re saying towards our Slovenian neighbors” we’ve got an open problem, there are methods to fix it, calm ways, good neighborly relations and a remedy which may be appropriate for both sides, unrelated together with our Schengen aspirations”
Protecting boundaries along the Croatian coast
In Greece, we understand how hard it’s to prevent ships with immigrants from the sea. Plus you’ve 1,300 km of boundary with non-EU nations. Have you ever considered any particular measures to guard your boundaries?”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia: “Not just believed, but we’ve put them in position. Croatia has much spent in the capacities of the police force. We’ve got 6,500 police officers fully trained and equipped to safeguard the external EU border, that’s that the Schengen border. We haven’t chosen either for walls or barricades or bard cables, unlike a few other nations, since we believed first of all the connection we have with Bosnia- Herzegovina, specifically, wasn’t the sufficient approach to safeguard the boundary.
Symela Touchtidou, Euronews: “Many NGOs state that you may try too difficult. There were accusations for police violence against offenses. Have you ever researched these allegations, is there some truth in them?”
We’ve always admired the Croatian law, we’ve admired the greatest standards, but we’re also protecting our boundary. Any allegation that we’ve discovered, it’s been researched. So far in regards to the behavior of the policemen, we could only praise their attempts for safeguarding not just the Croatian border but also protecting the boundary of all of the other EU member countries that are behind us.”
Symela Touchtidou, Euronews: “Thus, mass immigration is a significant concern in Europe. Is this the actual reason North Macedonia and Albania didn’t get dates for accession discussions?”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia: “We believed that both nations have done a good deal concerning standards which were required. And that’s the reason the European Commission, again, exactly like at the Schengen situation for Croatia, said: “today is the correct time to start these accession negotiations.”
A number of these were the analysis of several member countries if the evaluation, if everything was prepared, was entirely accurate or not and another one was a general thought vis a vis the augmentation process as well as the thought vis a vis the better operation of the EU as it is now, the EU of this 28.”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia: “We have an unwritten rule that we don’t disclose the deliberations in the European Council. I won’t alter this practice. I believe the press has more or less recognized that nations had any reservations but our vision is to speak to individuals that are unconvinced and inform them that it’s best for the stability of the area, it’s wise for the European future of the community the procedure begins. My argument has been”let us give them an opportunity and begin and no one can now, together with the high amount of doubt predict the distance of the procedure”.
Symela Touchtidou, Euronews: “Do you dread that in the event of Albania and North Macedonia, we may observe a replica of occurred with Turkey and EU? Turkey now appears very far away in the EU and also the event of this incursion in Syria revealed there are other big powers like Russia which affect its politics”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia: “I don’t believe we could compare North Macedonia and Albania together with Turkey. Turkey has experienced a very unique European route. I guess what we will need to perform with the EU would be to arrange our connection with Turkey, particularly bearing in mind the possible consequences of emergency which may happen in the west or elsewhere which may, in turn, turn into a refugee disaster or after a migratory crisis.”
Symela Touchtidou, Euronews: “You’ll be needing the presidency of the EU Council following session. So Brexit will occur on your watch. Are you hoping it will be a smooth transition”
Andrej Plenkovic, Prime Minister of Croatia: “With Brexit, nothing has been eloquent the previous 3 decades and four weeks. We see additional problems with the date of these elections and the rest of the difficulties. That which we discussed in the EU would be to provide a go-ahead into the UK we are all set to expand the possible Brexit date before the 31st of January but with all the flexibility, even if they resolve the processes internally we could perform the essential process in the level of the Council and European parliament, then the Brexit could be elastic a tiny bit prior to the end. But we as presidency we’ll look after it once it occurs in our period if it occurs. Now with all of the things we’ve seen, I don’t wish to be a fantastic predictor of something which very few people were able to forecast well.