As of January 1, controls will be lifted at 73 crossing points on the Croatian-Hungarian and Croatian-Slovenian borders, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic announced in Zagreb on Monday. Last Thursday, EU interior ministers approved the accession of Croatia to the Schengen area, meaning there will be no internal border controls from the new year.
The minister presented an amendment to the law on foreigners and border crossings in parliament on Monday, which creates the preconditions for Croatia to apply the Schengen facilitations.
“This means that Croatian citizens will no longer have to show their documents when crossing the border,” he said, adding that checks will be lifted at 15 crossing points on the Croatian-Hungarian border and 58 on the Croatian-Slovenian border.
He stressed that
the EU Member States belonging to the Schengen zone must remove all obstacles to the smooth flow of traffic at internal borders and road crossing points, adding that Croatia would do the same, in the interests of the free movement of goods, services and people.
Davor Bozinovic also indicated that some of the police officers working at the Slovenian and Hungarian borders would be transfered. “They will spend a little more time on the roads and will check vehicles and persons that they think should be inspected to see if they have entered Croatia illegally,” the Interior Minister said.
As Hungary Today reported earlier, on Thursday, the Council of EU interior ministers approved Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area, but no decision was made on when Bulgaria and Romania will join the international zone. The Netherlands rejected Bulgaria’s application due to concerns of the rule of law and corruption. Austria indicated that it would not support the accession of either Romania or Bulgaria because it would force it to tighten its own border controls due to an expected rise in illegal migration.
The decision regarding Croatia is certainly good news for Hungarian tourists who like to visit the neighboring country for their summer holidays, but also for foreigners who want to cross into Croatia from Hungary. So far during summers, border controls have caused problems on several occasions, resulting in queues of cars at the border. People often had to wait up to 2-3 hours in the summer heat to get across, but this situation seems to have been resolved with Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area.
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