The prime ministers of the Czech Republic and Croatia met in Prague to discuss Croatia’s forthcoming EU presidency, the EU budget framework for the next seven years, and bilateral relations.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was in Prague to join the Friends of Cohesion meeting attended by 17 EU member states. The meeting, hosted by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, will have representatives from all 17 countries discussing the EU’s multiannual financial framework for 2021 to 2027, particularly the cohesion policy funds.
Ahead of the summit, Plenković met with Babiš, who said he appreciated that Croatia had fulfilled the necessary conditions required to become a member of the Schengen Area, which the European Commission confirmed in the second half of October.
According to Babiš, Croatia belongs to the Schengen area, as do Bulgaria and Romania.
However, the membership of Croatia in the Schengen Area has to be unanimously approved by EU member states, some of which are concerned about the potential influx of migrants across the Croatian border. According to Babiš, these states should propose concrete suggestions to transform the Schengen Area.
“We do not have a clear strategy,” the Czech prime minister added.
Both the Czech and the Croatian prime ministers also discussed the forthcoming Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Croatia will take over the EU presidency for the first time in the first half of 2020, starting on Jan. 1. During that time, Plenković aims to arrange a meeting with Western Balkan countries, which he believes should become members of the EU as well.
With Croatia leading the EU presidency, its primary goals will be to ensure economic development, security, and the continued global influence of the EU.