Politics

Croatia Will Not Change the Colour of Its Passports

By 20 August 2015

There is only one blue passport in the EU, and it will stay that way.

When a businessman with dual citizenship – Croatian and Serbian – recently tried to enter the United Kingdom, he had both passports ready with him. The border officer automatically reached for the one that at first glance looked to him like an "EU passport", but he was wrong. Rather than taking the Croatian passport, he took the Serbian one. Any other border officer would have probably done the same, reports Vecernji List on August 20, 2015.

It is perfectly understandable: all the passports of the EU member states are uniformed in their design and they are all a shade of red or, more accurately, "burgundy red" as stated in the Official Journal of the EU. Some of the candidate countries for membership also respect that rule.

Among the 28 member states of the European Union, there is only one passport which looks differently – the blue Croatian passport. The colour has been kept in the new Rules on Forms and Records of Travel Documents which have just entered into force.

Has anyone thought about changing the colour of the passport in order to be consistent with other members of the Union? "The EU's position is that there is no obligation. Not all European passports are burgundy red, they are ranging from brown to burgundy to dark red. We are not going to change the colour, just add the European Union title", said the interior minister Ranko Ostojić.

The European Union has unified the passport design in 1981, but this is only a recommendation. Nevertheless, many European countries have decided to accept the instructions and replace the old passports with new ones.

"You cannot expect that the government, especially in an election year, would change the colour of the passport, especially to a shade of red. Some people would have associated it with the old Yugoslav passports, and it would be in vain to try to explain that this is a European standard. After all, the story about the licence plates on cars finished the same way, after the designers wanted to remove the coat of arms", said a source close to the government.

Despite the fact that the colour red is associated with the old, communist regimes, the former communist states which are now members of the EU have changed the colour of passports upon entry into the EU or even before. The passports were changed from blue to red in the Czech Republic in 2000, in Poland in 2001, and a year later in Estonia. The colour of the passport was changed in older member states as well: Germany has retired green passports in 1988 and replaced them with the red ones, and the same year the United Kingdom renounced the traditional blue colour in favour of red. Italians have replaced their green passports with the European red ones in 1998.

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