The Minister of the Interior, Davor Bozinovic, said on Saturday that Croatia joining the Schengen Zone is important not only for the Croatian and European security but for Slovenia as well, noting that Croatian and Slovenian police cooperated well at the border.
"You saw the news from Greece, namely what is happening on the so-called Balkan route which is potentially the biggest migrant route in Europe. Croatian and Slovenian police have good cooperation at the border and I am confident that Slovenian citizens appreciate what the Croatian police is doing to protect the EU external borders," Bozinovic said commenting on a statement by Slovenian Prime Minister Marjan Sarec who said Croatia is far from Schengen area membership.
Asked if Slovenia could make Croatia's Schengen membership conditional of some sort of an agreement concerning the two countries' arbitration issue, Bozinovic said there two issues were unrelated.
"This is an important security issue for both Croatia and Slovenia. I am talking about the migrant crisis and the EU. All EU member states, notably those still on that route, such as Germany and Austria, highly appreciate what the Croatian police are doing and I am confident that all stakeholders are aware of that," Bozinovic said.
Slovenian PM Sarec said on Saturday that Croatia was still far from membership of the Schengen area, without ruling out a possibility for his government to tie Slovenia's support to Croatia's membership to an unresolved dispute over the border at the Adriatic Sea.
In 2017 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favour of Slovenia in the territorial dispute but Croatia is refusing to implement the ruling. It claims the arbitration process was compromised.