˝The decision on removal of border controls at internal borders can be made only after evaluation confirms that the Member State is properly applying all the provisions of the Schengen acquis. This evaluation will begin when Croatia declares that it is ready for it,˝ said European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in answer to MEP Dubravka Šuica's question as to when Croatia can expect to enter the Schengen zone.
120 million euros has been approved for Croatia for the period from 2014 to 2016 for full implementation of the Schengen Acquis, but it is not known how much of the funds has been used. The available financial resources are earmarked for strengthening infrastructure, technical, IT and administrative capacities of the border police for the effective implementation of the supervision activities of the future external land and sea border of the Schengen area.
˝At a time when Europe is faced with terrorism, this is an opportunity to encourage the government to accelerate activities around this project since the EU has introduced stricter control of the Schengen borders within the framework of anti-terrorist measures, i.e. the borders of Croatia with Slovenia and Hungary,˝ concluded MEP Šuica.
It is worth adding that Croatia can submit a request for evaluation already on 1 July 2015. The evaluation will be implemented by experts of the Commission and Member States in accordance with the decree on the establishment of the evaluation and monitoring mechanism to verify the application of the Schengen Acquis, while the length of the evaluation procedure depends on the ability of Croatian to prove that it is properly applying the acquis. After a positive evaluation of the Council, it shall consult the European Parliament, and then it will unanimously decide on the removal of border controls at internal borders.
˝Given the fact that the Croatian sea border is an external border of the European Union and with regard to migration trends, the pressure of illegal immigrants could move from the land to the sea border, while in this sense, the 2260 km outer border of Croatia, or the European Union, can be regarded as the 'doors' to the EU,˝ concluded Šuica.