Bulgaria MEP: Exact Date for Schengen Entry No Drama

Bulgaria in EU | December 20, 2010, Monday // 20:33|  views

Bulgarian MEP Kovatchev (left) with EP President Jerzy Buzek. Photo by BGNES

A Bulgarian member of the European Parliament has warned against escalation of tensions over the exact date of the country's accession to the European visa-free Schengen zone, scheduled for March 2011.

"Our European partners have clearly declared that Bulgaria will become part of the Schengen Area and the exact date and month of the formal decision is no drama at all," Andrey Kovatchev, member of the European Parliament from Bulgaria's ruling party GERB and chairman of the Bulgarian delegation in the European Peoples Party EPP group, said in an exclusive interview for Novinite.com.

He stressed that Bulgaria and Romania are obliged to be ready to join Schengen in 2011 as provided in their EU accession treaties from January 1, 2007.

"For me it makes no difference whether the country will join Schengen in March, April or September. The exact date doesn't matter," he said.

Kovatchev said he is an optimist and expects that in 2012 Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to travel without border checks.

"The deadline, which Bulgaria and Romania set themselves, is really very ambitious, but the two countries are putting in lots of efforts and have managed to meet the criteria," he pointed out.

"Bulgaria managed in a very short period of time, after the government succeeded in extending the deadline, to absorb 100% of the financing under the Schengen Facility and reform in line with the requirements not only its borders, but also its communication with the other member states through the Schengen Information System."

Asked whether a failure of either Bulgaria or Romania to join the visa-free zone could jeopardise Schengen entry for the other, Kovatchev said:

"I would like to stress once again that Bulgaria and Romania work in tandem for their accession to Schengen Area and have the support of the other countries."

Full text of the interview with Andrey Kovatchev read HERE

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Tags: area, zone, European Peoples' Party (EPP), European parliament, Marin, Lessenski, Open Society Institute, Marin Lessenski, European Commission, Romania, Bulgaria, Schengen Agreement, Schengen, France, EU membership accession, in 2011, Andrey Kovatchev, Facility, information system


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