Human Rights Watch calls on EU not to let Croatia join Schengen area

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that Croatia should not be part of the European Union’s borderless Schengen area, despite the fact that the Balkan country has met all the conditions to join this zone.

In addition, the organization called on the EU not to admit Croatia into the passport-free zone, reports

Such a request has been made regarding Croatia’s treatment of migrants. Moreover, in a report published on November 8, the non-governmental organization launched accusations against the European Commission for having declared that the Balkan country was ready to join the Schengen area.

“Croatia’s illegal and violent summary returns of asylum seekers and migrants should prevent it from joining the Schengen area”, Lydia Gall, Senior Researcher on Eastern Europe and the Balkans at HRW, emphasized in this regard, adding that the Commission’s actions “sends the message that serious human rights violations are not an obstacle to joining Schengen”, as reported by Radio Free Europe.

However, such accusations related to abuse by migrants as well as human rights groups have often been denied by Croatian authorities.

The Commission of the European Union has previously asked the European Council to adopt the decision to allow Croatia, along with Romania and Bulgaria, to be part of the Schengen passport-free zone.

The Commission’s comments came through this year’s State of Schengen report. In addition, the statement pointed out that the three countries mentioned above have met all the conditions to be part of the countries of the Schengen zone.

In this regard, the Commissioner for Home Affairs of the European Union, Ylva Johansson, underlined that the Schengen area should be completed by allowing Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania to join this area.

Johansson pointed out that “This summer inspires us to fully restore freedom of movement and to prepare Schengen for the future so that our children can work, study and travel throughout Europe, whenever and wherever they want,” however, the process has still not been finalized.

Croatia has been subject to Schengen evaluation procedures for several years, while in the last quarter of 2019 the Commission concluded that the Croatian authorities have taken all necessary measures for the application of all parts of the acquis of Schengen.

Recently, it was reported that Croatia will become a member of the Eurozone from January 1 next year, becoming the 20th country in this zone.

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