A foreign mission with the participation of representatives of the Netherlands and Austria will, in September this year, estimate whether Bulgaria has met all the requirements for becoming part of the EU’s Schengen Zone.
Such comments have been made by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Bulgaria, Kalin Stoyanov, following his meetings with the European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johansson, and the Minister of Migration of the Netherlands, Eric can der Burgh.
In spite of the fact that Bulgaria has met all the needed conditions to become the newest member of the borderless area of Schengen, both Austria and the Netherlands in December last year opposed the accession of this country to the Schengen Zone, citing illegal migrant concerns.
Bulgaria’s Interior Minister also informed regarding the actions taken by Bulgaria in fulfilment of the recommendation of the European Commission in a report on the rule of law.
According to him, the most important this is for Bulgaria to receive consent from the Netherlands.
At the same time, the Netherlands’ Minister of Migration said that in spite of the fact that the country’s government is a caretaker one, there are some expectations that it will have the mandate to work on issues that are on the European agenda, taking into account the subject of Schengen.
Minister van der Burgh expressed a desire to conduct a mission in Bulgaria, which is also the desire of the Balkan country, while the coordination will be undertaken by the European Commission.
A recent report from Politico said that with a caretaker government in the Netherlands, Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Zone is unlikely to be finalised any time soon.
Last month, the cabinet of Bulgaria said that it adopted a governance program prioritising the country’s accession to the Schengen Zone by the end of this year and the accession to the eurozone by January 1, 2025.
In July this year, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, told the European Parliament that the European Commission and Spanish Presidency had intensified their work so Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen Zone could be finalised by the end of this year.
In addition, last month, the European Union’s Parliament adopted a new resolution, calling on the European Union Council to treat this issue seriously and permit both countries to become part of the Schengen Zone by the end of this year.
Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Zone has still not been finalised in spite of the European Commission’s comments that the country has met all the needed requirements since 2011.