Bulgarian Prime Minister, Nikolay Denkov, expressed his belief that Austria will change its position regarding the accession of Sofia to the Schengen Zone before the end of December.
His comments came in an interview on the Austrian public television ORF, during which he talked about the blockade of Austria and the Netherlands to Bulgaria’s membership in the Schengen Zone.
I believe we deserve this decision.
The Bulgarian PM emphasised that his country achieved progress in the judicial reform requested by the Netherlands.
He said that Bulgaria is being held hostage when it comes to the further enlargement of the Schengen Zone.
Emphasising the advantages that the enlargement of the Schengen Zone would bring to Austria, Denkov considered that Austria’s current position is due to internal problems, not Sofia’s lack of results.
Earlier this month Bulgaria’s PM said that with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the EU’s borderless area, Europe’s borders will be better protected, and stronger.
His comments were addressed to the European Parliament, while he urged the EU to play a more active role on the international stage as a guarantor of peace.
Denkov warned that Russia is using cultural and economic ties in order to divide his country, emphasising that the EU and NATO membership are the greatest guarantee to continue the path to democratic European development for Bulgaria.
This is why we need to complete our European integration by joining the Schengen area and the Eurozone.
Austria’s veto on the membership of Romania to the Schengen Area led authorities in Bucharest to block the participation of Vienna in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meetings, as a “revenge”.
However, Denkov said that Sofia is not considering countermeasures such as Romania, but through the years, it will become more difficult to explain to the citizens of Bulgaria why Vienna treats the country this year. According to him, this will complicate the situation for Austrian companies in Bulgaria, stressing that Vienna is among the leading investors in investors in the Eastern European country.
Irregular migration concerns led authorities in Vienna to block the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area in December last year, and in the case of Bulgaria, the accession was also opposed by the Netherlands, under the same concerns, in spite of the fact that both countries have met all the needed conditions.
The membership of these two Balkan countries to the EU’s Schengen Zone has been officially included on the agenda of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), on December 5 this year.