The Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament supported Croatia's accession to the Schengen area from the beginning of next year on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, at the session in Brussels, the committee voted with a convincing majority, 45 votes for, 8 against and 5 abstentions, that Croatia meets all the criteria for accession to the Schengen area and there are no obstacles to becoming a full member of that space without internal border controls.
After the vote at the Committee, all representatives of the European Parliament will express their opinion on this document on November 9 at the plenary session in Brussels and then forward that opinion to the Council of the EU, which makes the final decision. This concludes the role of the European Parliament in the process of Croatia's entry into the Schengen area.
"I expect that the decision voted today will also be confirmed at the mini-plenary session in November. We are now in the final phase of the procedure, which was long and demanding for Croatia. The decision of this Committee leaves no doubt that Croatia is ready for Schengen and Croatian citizens will soon be able to enjoy all the benefits of membership in the Schengen area," said Croatian MP Karlo Ressler, member of the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Internal Affairs.
The role of the European Parliament in this decision-making is only advisory, but according to the rules of procedure, the Council, that is, the member states, must request an opinion from the Parliament. Although this opinion is not binding for the Council, it is still good that it should be positive for the sake of the political message, and also because perhaps some members who might have certain reservations about Schengen expansion are not given the opportunity to not use a possible negative opinion as an excuse for opposition.