Shortly after taking office as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the coalition’s Social Democrats party (SD), Tanja Fajon, made abiding by the arbitration agreement a condition for Croatia’s accession to Schengen. But now, it seems that she has miraculously changed her mind. “This is a historical moment for the European Union, Croatia and Slovenia. Schengen, or the abolition of borders, is the most beautiful New Year’s gift to Croatia. It is a historic moment and an important turning point that will positively change the lives of people along the border, who will now be able to move and travel freely,” she recently said.
During the previous government’s term, when Anže Logar was Minister of Foreign Affairs, we had excellent relations with our neighbours. Tanja Fajon, however, soon after taking office, started to unnecessarily aggravate the relations with Croatia. Fajon stressed the importance of clear and transparent rules for entry into the Schengen area and added that she would work to ensure that Croatia became part of the Schengen area as soon as possible, but that this would require, among other things, the implementation of the arbitration ruling, she insisted.
Fajon’s statement was expectedly met with a strong reaction from Croatia, as in his response, the Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman pointed out that their country’s entry into the Schengen area had nothing to do with the state border or the arbitration ruling, and expressed hope that after the change of power, mutual relations between the two countries would continue to be good. He expressed his conviction that Croatia’s entry into Schengen was in Slovenia’s best interest.
Fajon tried to make it seem as if she never set any conditions for Croatia’s accession
As we can see, Fajon miraculously changed her mind at some point. She was recently seen at the Obrežje/Bregana border crossing, where she attended a ceremony to mark Croatia’s entry into the Schengen area and the euro area, hosted by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. She said that Schengen, or the abolition of borders, was undoubtedly the most beautiful New Year gift for Croatia. “This is a historic moment and an important turning point that will positively change the lives of people along the border, who will now be able to move and travel freely,” she added, congratulating Croatian citizens.
In her speech, Fajon said that Slovenia, which celebrated its 15th anniversary of joining Schengen a few days ago, and which supposedly supported Croatia’s efforts all along, is no longer protecting the European Union’s external border. “I believe that this will not make the Schengen area any less secure,” she said, adding that, in her opinion, Schengen is not fully functioning at the moment and needs to be revised.
On the 22nd of October 2019, the European Commission decided to give the green light for Croatia to join Schengen. At that time, the President of the largest opposition party, Janez Janša, stressed that it was in the strategic interest of our country to move the Schengen border to Croatia as soon as possible. “Slovenia should help Croatia control the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, not block the country’s accession,” he stressed. Fajon seems to have realised that not all positions can be changed just because they were advocated by the previous government. After all, it is clear to all of us that our country does not have enough police officers to guard the border with Croatia, and the current government has made things even more difficult for them by announcing that it would tear down the border fence that would prevent illegal arrivals into our country.