Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (L) welcomes European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in Zagreb, Croatia, Oct. 23, 2019. Avramopoulos said here on Wednesday that the European Union (EU) could better face migration and security challenges with Croatia in the Schengen area. (Patrik Macek/Pixsell/Handout via Xinhua)
ZAGREB, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said here on Wednesday that the European Union (EU) could better face migration and security challenges with Croatia in the Schengen area.
Avramopoulos spoke with Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and Justice Minister Drazen Bosnjakovic the day after the European Commission decided that Croatia had fulfilled the technical requirements for entry into the Schengen area.
"The accession of Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania is even more relevant today, given the migration and security challenges we face," Avramopoulos said at a press conference after his talks with the Croatian government.
The European commissioner said that Croatia had fulfilled all the responsibilities assumed by its accession to the EU that are "relevant" to the country's accession to the Schengen area.
Avramopoulos said that Croatia needs to continue its ongoing border protection activities, especially that along its border with Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
He said he expected all EU member states to take the right steps to make Croatia part of Schengen soon.
He also noted that it was necessary to reform the Dublin asylum system, according to which migrants should seek asylum in the first EU member state they enter.
Interior Minister Bozinovic said the EU should focus more on the Balkan migrant route and urged the BiH border services to reduce the pressure put by migrants on Croatia's borders.
"We will contribute to bringing the EU back to Schengen's normal functioning as soon as possible," the minister said.