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Croatia Urges Bosnia & Herzegovina to Harmonize Visa Policy with EU Standards: Diplomatic Pressure Mounts


Croatia has requested that Bosnia and Herzegovina aligns its visa policy with the European Union.

Such a demand comes in an effort to prevent irregular migrants from entering the bloc from Bosnia and Herzegovina, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Bosnia and Herzegovina currently has visa-free travel agreements with several third countries, including China, Russia, and Türkiye.

Since citizens of these countries and some others are able to enter Bosnia and Herzegovina without having to undergo visa procedures, they reach the country on direct flights.

After entering Bosnia and Herzegovina, they then try to enter Croatia and the other neighbouring countries irregularly and apply for international protection.

These practices are illegal, and for this reason, Croatia wants Bosnia and Herzegovina to start applying visa rules for countries whose nationals try to reach the EU irregularly via it.

As Balkan Insight explains, the Minister of Interior of Croatia, Davor Bozinovic, said that the number of irregular entries into the country has dropped by 17 per cent compared to last year.

However, Minister Bozinovic highlighted that Bosnia and Herzegovina has reportedly registered 40 per cent more entries this year.

Due to this increase, Croatia is concerned that more people will attempt to enter the country irregularly.

According to Minister Bozinovic, over 50 per cent of asylum seekers in Croatia are currently from China, Russia, and Türkiye.

Taking this into account, Croatia wants to ensure that Bosnia and Herzegovina tightens its visa rules for people who are misusing the agreements in place.

Croatia Working With Italy & Slovenia to Lift Internal Border Checks

Despite concerns related to irregular migration, Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia have said that they are working together to lift the internal border controls before the summer begins.

Instead of keeping internal border controls that are aimed at preventing irregular migration in place, the three countries want to protect the borders with joint police patrols.

Announcing the plan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Tanja Fajon, said that if the project goes as planned, joint police patrols might be considered as an alternative to border controls.

“Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia are working together to abolish internal border controls within the Schengen area before the summer break.” Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia, Tanja Fajon

Minister Fajon further stressed that this type of cooperation is necessary, especially in the fight against irregular migration from the Western Balkans route.

As per Croatian authorities, they have not yet made an official statement on the matter. However, since this approach has been supported by the country, it suggests that Croatia also believes that joint police patrols will be effective in preventing irregular migration.

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