ZAGREB, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- More than 60 of the previously identified 98 recommendations for Croatia to join the Schengen Area have been implemented, Croatian daily Vecernji list reported on Tuesday.
The paper cited the Croatian Interior Ministry's determination to fulfill all of the European Commission's recommendations so that the Council of the European Union (EU) can make a decision to accept Croatia into the Schengen Area by the beginning of 2019, and before May 2019 when the current commission's mandate expires.
At the end of November, European Commission representatives are coming to Croatia to evaluate the country's progress toward this aim. The Schengen Area includes 26 European states that are part of a passport-free zone, meaning there are no border controls between them. Croatia is one of four EU countries (Croatia, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania) that are still not part of it.
During their last evaluation in June 2016, the EC issued 98 recommendations for Croatia. Although two thirds of them are already implemented, the Interior Ministry stated that further efforts were needed to build infrastructure and solve property rights at certain border crossings, as well as to accelerate work at airports to meet all the Schengen standards.
While preparing to join the Schengen, Croatia has used almost all the money that the EU has made available for that purpose. The southeastern European country has spent 120 million euros (141 million U.S. dollars) on vehicles, ships, helicopters, thermo-vision cameras, explosive detectors, and counterfeit detection devices for border control.