Croatia switching to targeted border checks, appeals to Slovenia to follow suit

Photo /Vijesti/2017/04 travanj/13 travnja/DSC_5619.JPG

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic appealed to Slovenia on Thursday to follow Croatia in temporarily replacing systematic border checks with targeted checks after a new EU regulation on tighter Schengen border controls caused multiple negative effects and long delays at border crossings between the two countries.

"The government has notified the EU member states and the European Commission that Croatia has switched from systematic checks required by the regulation on intensified control of the Schengen borders, to so-called targeted checks," Plenkovic said at the start of a Cabinet meeting, adding that the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and his office "are engaged in dialogue with both Hungary and Slovenia."

Plenkovic said that this morning he had spoken with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar and once again appealed to Slovenia to switch from systematic checks of vehicles at the border to so-called targeted checks.

Systematic checks include passport scanning for both EU and non-EU citizens, which causes long queues on both sides of the border. On the other hand, targeted checks are made only of vehicles for which that appears to be necessary, which will speed up the flow of vehicles from the Croatian side, Plenkovic said.

"We believe that Slovenia too will recognise negative effects in economic terms or in terms of passenger frustration," he said, expressing hope that a temporary solution would be found for the duration of the Easter holidays. He stressed that Croatia would do all it could to find a durable solution.

Speaking to the press before the government session, Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said that the transfer to the old border controls regime had been agreed, while Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said that tighter border controls would not adversely affect the tourist season, but could make tourists nervous.

"We and the Hungarians will deal with this by switching for a longer period of time to targeted border checks, while our colleagues in Slovenia will apply targeted checks as necessary," Orepic said, adding that considerable progress had been made in this regard.

Asked about long lines of vehicles forming at the border, Orepic said that security was a priority. "It shouldn't be a problem to wait for a while, because security is a priority in any case. We are switching to a regime of targeted checks on the border, but we all must show patience so that the flow of vehicles is as smooth as possible."

Text: Hina