The perspective of a country safeguarding the European Union's external borders differs from the perspective of member-states in the heart of the Schengen Area, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday in Zagreb, where she arrived for a European People's Party (EPP) congress.
During a news conference, Merkel defended Croatia against accusations that it was violating the rights of migrants.
Asked if Croatia should take over the presidency of the EU now that it was being accused of disrespect for the human rights of migrants at its border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, the German chancellor said that "the European Union lives off having different perspectives".
Things appear differently from the perspective of a country that is supposed to protect the external borders and from the perspective of a country in the centre of the European region, Merkel said after her bilateral meeting with Croatian Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic on the margins of the EPP congress in Zagreb's Arena sports hall.
Croatia, as a young country, can bring its experiences because its memory of the accession negotiations is still fresh, unlike Germany's memory, since its accession to the EU happened long ago, Merkel explained.
Croatia has done a lot to create the preconditions for its accession to the Schengen area and the European Commission has positively assessed those efforts, she recalled.
Germany has not yet discussed Croatia's Schengen membership bid. However, Merkel said that she would draw attention to all that has been done.
During Germany's chairmanship (in the second half of 2020), this will be on the agenda, said Merkel.
In the first half of 2020 Croatia will chair the EU and after that Germany will assume the rotating presidency.