When will the annoying border controls at the Slovenian-Croatian Schengen border, which are often associated with kilometer-long traffic jams, be abolished for all tourists traveling to Croatia with their own cars in 2022? The answer to this pressing question probably occupies most Croatian vacationers even in 2022. SeaHelp, based on many different publications, has obtained information directly from the EU in Brussels, in order to be able to speculations about the timetable of the upcoming accession to the Schengen area. Information to our questions was provided by the press officer of the Croatian Permanent Representation to the EU, Morena Žagar.
Kilometer-long traffic jams at Croatia’s border
To begin with, it is worth recalling: Croatia is part of the EU, but is not yet a member of the Schengen area, which allows citizens to cross borders without systematic checks on people. This means that the Slovenian-Croatian border is also an external Schengen border. Anyone who crosses it either leaves the Schengen area or enters the Schengen area and usually has to undergo identity checks. Especially in the summer season, this repeatedly leads to miles of time-consuming jams.
Schengen accession candidate Croatia
Croatia has been considered a Schengen candidate country for some time, but when it will join the Schengen area has not yet been determined exactly. The year 2022 is actually considered the expected accession year. We wanted to know exactly and asked the EU in Brussels, specifically the press officer of the Croatian Permanent Representation to the EU, Morena Žagar. Here is her statement:
Responses from Brussels
SeaHelp: Dear Ms. Žagar, when will Croatia finally join the Schengen area so that the annoying controls at the Slovenian border will stop?
As you probably already know, the Republic of Croatia has fulfilled all technical requirements, which was confirmed by the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency at the Home Affairs Council meeting on March 12. In addition, the Council conclusions on the fulfilment of the necessary conditions for the full application of the Schengen directives in Croatia (by which the Council formally confirmed the completion of the Schengen evaluation process) were adopted on December 9 during the Slovenian Presidency.
SeaHelp: Is there a concrete roadmap for the next steps?
The next steps are:
- Council Decision on the full application of the Schengen Directives (including the abolition of border checks on persons, ed.) to the Republic of Croatia (Council Decision) – is being drafted and should subsequently be discussed in the Council before being forwarded by the General Secretariat of the Council to the European Parliament.
- The preparation of the opinion by the European Parliament will follow.
- The Council decision is forwarded to the Council for vote/adoption. The Council decision is taken by unanimity. So, ideally, the Council decision will be taken in June and the boundaries will be lifted by the end of the year.
SeaHelp: Do you expect border controls to be abolished as early as this year’s tourist season?
SeaHelp: Can you imagine concluding an agreement with Slovenia to abolish or ease controls, in anticipation of accession, so to speak?
Since this is a legal procedure, it is not legally possible to do this bilaterally. However, Croatia is always trying to facilitate border controls with Slovenia and other member states.
No border controls from June?
As a conclusion remains: On the part of the responsible EU Commission in Brussels, it is assumed that Croatia will still join the Schengen area in June of 2022. Until the measures are then implemented in national law, however, it could still take until the end of the year. Ultimately, however, this is not Croatia’s responsibility, but that of the Schengen Commission. The good news, however, is that the traffic jams on the Croatian-Slovenian border will certainly end in 2022, but it is not yet clear whether this will be during the season or afterwards. But perhaps the process can be accelerated diplomatically…