Croatia to become 27th member of the Schengen Zone in milestone decision

Croatia is set to join the Schengen Zone, signalling an end to border checks between the country and other member states

CROATIA is set to join the Schengen Zone after a landmark decision was made by EU ministers in Brussels on Thursday, December 8. The eastern European country will become the 27th member state of the world’s largest visa-free zone.

While EU ministers and Members of the European Parliament welcomed the decision, there was also backlash over the decision to leave Romania and Bulgaria out of Schengen.

An opposition movement led by Austria resulted in the countries being left out of the Schengen Zone due to ‘security concerns’. All 26 members of the existing agreement have to vote unanimously on new additions. Austria’s Interior Minister cited illegal border crossings as the reason for Austria’s decision to veto the applications.

The decision means that motorists and passengers will no longer need to stop at the Croatian borders with other Schengen Zone countries for passport checks from 2023.

The Bulgarian and Romanian Prime Ministers both announced that their countries would apply to join Schengen again. Nicolae Ciucă, the Romanian Prime Minister expressed his disappointment at the decision saying “We regret, and honestly do not understand the inflexible position taken by Austria”.

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