Agreement to strengthen the external borders before the Schengen enlargement

ZAGREB, January 7, 2022 – The possibility of an enlargement of the Schengen area will be decided by the heads of state or government of the EU, before which it is necessary to reach an agreement on the protection of the external borders and registering all foreigners entering the EU, a French government source said on Friday.

President Emmanuel Macron has spoken out in favor of Croatia joining Schengen and the decision rests with heads of state or government, the source said when asked if a decision on whether to join Schengen. Croatia could be expected during the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of this year.

Before that, it is necessary to agree on the first stage of the Migration and Asylum Pact, which includes the protection of the external borders and the registration of all foreigners entering the EU, said the source. It seems reasonable to me and the heads of state or government will decide, he added.

The source said the adoption of the pact should be divided into three stages. The aim is to reach agreement on such an approach and adopt conclusions on the first stage by March. This is an agreement on better protection of the external borders and the registration of all migrants.

The first step is to find a balance between solidarity and responsibility, between the desire to share the migratory pressure with the Member States along the external borders and the responsibility for protecting these borders. This envisages an agreement on the modalities of maintaining migrants at the external borders in order to check their identity for security reasons.

We must first agree on strengthening the external borders, in which the first stage of the migration package is important, and then we can talk about Schengen enlargement, according to the French government source.

Visiting Zagreb in November, Macron supported Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area and the euro area.

France supports Croatia’s accession to Schengen. Croatia has shown that it is ready and has complied with the process, confirming that it is firmly organized and capable of protecting its own borders, the Union’s external borders, against smuggling, he said. .

Macron also said that with Croatia’s accession, Schengen will become more effective, adding that the Schengen regime needs to reform and that France will work on it while chairing the EU Council.

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