You have organized an international conference in Dubrovnik "Schengen - Achievements and Prospects", attended by representatives of the EU Commission, the Parliament and the Ministries of Interior of Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. A similar conference in the same place was organized by Dubravka Šuica a week ago. How come, why didn't you do it together?
As a Member of the European Parliament, I am also a member of the SEDE Subcommittee on Security and Defense. I have been continuously engaged in this field since 2013. Last year I organized an international conference "The European Defense Union - between needs and opportunities" also in Dubrovnik, which included, among other eminent panelists, three defense ministers from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. My political group, the Socialist and Democrats, called for a special plenary session on Schengen. Additionally, I am the only Croatian MEP who submitted amendments to this year's report on Schengen's functioning and all have been adopted. I am glad that my dedicated work on Croatia's inclusion in Schengen area inspires and encourages the activity of other colleagues.
Your amendment has recently been adopted, that once all criteria are met, Croatia enters the Schengen area. What are the guarantees that this will happen, since Romania and Bulgaria have met the criteria log time ago but cannot enter because they are blocked by certain Member States?
It should be noted that there is an important formal distinction between our country and Romania and Bulgaria. When they joined the EU in 2007, monitoring was carried out in the field of justice and corruption in Romania and, in the case of Bulgaria, they also monitored fight against organized crime. Bulgaria needs to meet six more benchmarks, while Romania has four. On the other hand, although the lack of results in the monitored areas provides an alibi for some embers to block their entry into space without internal border controls, the general level of distrust nowadays within the EU is hindering and prolonging enlargement processes, both Union and Schengen. Regardless of the current political climate, Croatia needs to complete its work on meeting the technical criteria, because this is the only way that possible blocking in the European Council will be seen as someone's attempt for bilateral blackmail.
Read the full interview on the link.