Entering Schengen is 'a huge economic benefit for us': Croatian PM Plenkovic

Talking Europe hosts the Croatian prime minister, who steered his country into the eurozone and the Schengen free travel area at the start of this year. Andrej Plenkovic talks about the symbolic and practical aspects of these two moves, and discusses his government's plans to continue helping Ukraine – despite the Croatian parliament's recent rejection of a proposal to join an EU military mission in support of Kyiv.

Asked about the implications of open borders with Croatia's neighbours, Plenkovic says: "People are really thrilled that there are no more border controls on the crossings between Croatia and Slovenia; between Croatia and Hungary. Seventy-three border crossings are now police-free and customs-free. That means people going freely to the west or to the north of Europe. It means less costs, and more tourists coming to Croatia. 82 percent of overnight tourist stays in Croatia are made by people who come from the Schengen area. So this is going to be a huge economic benefit for us."

On the new responsibilities that come with joining Schengen, Plenkovic adds: “We shall guard the external Schengen border just as efficiently as we guarded the external EU border. The responsibilities are higher, and everything seems to be in the best order. I want to say that our example and our advances should be an incentive for other countries in Southeast Europe."

'Historic mischoice' by opposition MPs on Ukraine

Produced by Isabelle Romero, Sophie Samaille and Perrine Desplats

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