Croatia: Plenković in Brussels with Michel and Johansson

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday after a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel that the two condemned the forced landing of a Ryanair civilian plane in Belarus and called for an international investigation.

Plenkovic met with Michelle in Brussels on Monday afternoon ahead of an EU summit.

The Croatian prime minister wrote on Twitter that he had spoken to Michel about “the fight against COVID-19, the vaccination process, Croatia’s entry into the Schengen Area and the euro area and the continuation of enlargement”.

“We condemn the unacceptable move by the Belarusian authorities and demand an international investigation,” Plenkovi tha said.

After the meeting, Plenković stated that Michel expressed a strong understanding of Croatia’s entry into Schengen and the Eurozone. He added that Croatia has met all the conditions, which was confirmed by the European Commission, and that Schengen membership is essential for Croatia, as well as the EU, to implement strategies in the fight against illegal migration because Croatia protects the EU’s external borders with over 6,000 police officers.

Plenković also said that he believes Croatia’s entry into Schengen is possible during the Slovenian presidency of the Union because, as he said, Croatia has met all the technical criteria.

“Given the excellent relations we have with the Republic of Slovenia, it would be good for our entry into Schengen to be fair during the Slovenian presidency of the union,” Plenkovi tha said, announcing that he would discuss it with all member states so that to gain political support.

Plenković then spoke with Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson at the Commission headquarters.

The two-day meeting of the leaders of the 27 EU member states starts on Monday evening and the agenda includes meeting the goals set for climate protection, foreign policy issues and the COVID-19 situation.

EU leaders will also address the unprecedented move by Belarusian authorities, who on Sunday forced a Ryanair flight from Greece to Lithuania to land in Minsk and subsequently arrested Roman Protasevich, one of the main opposition activists on board. There is expected to be a debate on measures the EU could take against the Belarusian regime.

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