news 11 May 13

Croatia Readies Border Contracts With Neighbours

Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia are due to agree new bilateral border agreements with Croatia as the country prepares to join the EU on July 1.

Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb

The Croatian Foreign Ministry is busy working on new contracts on border regimes and traffic with Bosnia and Montenegro.

With Croatia's admission to the EU loming on July 1, the existing border regime with non-EU neighbours Bosnia, Montenegro and Serbia will cease to have effect.

The contract proposals that Croatia has prepared determine what the exact width and subdivisions of border areas.

It also stipulates special places to cross the border outside official border crossings, intended for residents of the border areas.

The novelty is the establishment of the so-called BIP points, Border Inspection Posts.

Inhabitants of the three Balkan countries currently travel to Croatia only with ID cards.

On Thursday, Croatian government decided that citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina will only be able to enter the country without a visa as of July 1 if they carry biometric passports.

The proposal will be sent to the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Talks between Croatia and Montenegro on the content of new border crossing and traffic agreements "give hope that both contracts could be harmonized and signed soon", the Croatian Ministry said.

According to the Ministry, talks on signing new border contracts have not been opened only with Serbia. Croatia forwarded its contract proposals to Belgrade in 2011.

Balkan Insight has learned from the Serbian Foreign Ministry that this agreement will be signed by July 1.

So far, Croatia has invested around 60 million euro in updated border crossings. The country plans to invest 40 million more, alongside 120 million euro from EU funds designated for such purposes.

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