Politics

Jansa: Croatia's Entry into Euro and Schengen Area is in Slovenia's Interest

By 11 July 2020

ZAGREB, July 11, 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Friday that Croatia's admission to the euro area and the Schengen zone of passport-free travel was in Slovenia's national interest.

He criticised the policy of the Slovenia's two previous governments which advocated the blocking Croatia's membership of those two areas, underlining the futility of that conditionality policy.

"The recent past has shown us that Slovenia's vociferous opposition to Croatia's entry (into the OECD,  the Schengen or the euro area) has led us into this situation which we have with the (border) arbitration agreement, and there is no use of that," Jansa told the Slovenia Television on Friday evening after he met his Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic earlier in the day for the talks on the bilateral relations and the latest developments surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic.

"Slovenia is a responsible member of the European Union," said Jansa explaining that Ljubljana would insist on the implementation of equal criteria for all euro area and Schengen zone aspirants.

"The adoption of the common currency (the euro) has not been only the possibility but also the obligation since 2004, and it is not about whether or not to adopt the euro but about when to do that," Jansa said adding that it would be pragmatic for Slovenia that the euro could become the sole legal tender in Croatia as soon as possible.

He explained that in such case Slovenians vacationing in that eastern neighbour would no longer need to exchange the euro for the kuna.

Considering Croatia's admission to the Schengen zone, Jansa explained that it was in Slovenia's interest that Croatia could meet the technical conditions for that area membership as soon as possible, hence it would mean that the Schengen external borderline was shifted from Slovenia to Croatia's eastern borders, and consequently, this would made it easier for the Slovenian border police to tackle the issue of irregular migrants.

Both Slovenia and Croatia face similar problems regarding COVID-19 infection sources

Asked whether Plenkovic had reassured him that due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, Croatia would impose more restrictions on passengers from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, Jansa answered that Slovenia and Croatia faced similar problems regarding sources of COVID-19 infection and that there were now more local transmissions in both countries.

A majority of new infections have recently been imported into Croatia and Slovenia from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. In recent days Croatia has imposed some stricter measures for entries from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, even for those who are only in transit through Croatia, the Slovenian PM said.

Jansa added that he and Plenkovic had discussed the possibility of introducing a common mobile application for monitoring contacts of the infected persons and persons who self-isolate as a means to reduce the number of new infections.

Jansa said that both of them expressed regret that at the start of the epidemic, no agreement had been reached on a joint EU mobile application solution. The Slovenian premier holds that such joint EU mobile applications in combating COVID-19 would be useful.

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