Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in Brussels on Thursday he expected the present European Commission to make a recommendation before the end of its term that Croatia meets the requirements for accession to the Schengen passport-free travel area.
"I expect the College of Commissioners to adopt what has been proposed by the relevant commissioners, notably Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos," Plenkovic told the press after meeting with senior EU officials.
In mid-October the European Commission is expected to discuss an assessment of Croatia's readiness to join the Schengen area. During his visit to Zagreb in June, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the Commission would issue a positive recommendation before the end of its term, which expires on November 1.
Plenkovic noted that the Schengen Committee had concluded earlier this month that Croatia met the requirements from all eight chapters of the Schengen acquis. "We have made a lot of advances and are now expecting the College of Commissioners to adopt what was discussed at lower levels," he added.
He was asked to comment on the statement by Slovenian Foreign Minister Miro Cerar that only countries that honour the rule of law can join the Schengen area and that Croatia is violating the rule of law by refusing to implement the arbitration ruling on the border dispute between the two countries.
"Those are political issues that will be raised at the Council level. This is a technical matter for the Commission. The criteria are equal for all and Croatia has met all the criteria," Plenkovic said.