Interior Head: Bulgaria Now Totally Schengen-ReadyBulgaria in EU | March 15, 2011, Tuesday // 14:41| views
Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria has now covered the last remaining technical requirement for its Schengen entry – the opening of the Lyubimets refugee camp, the country's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov declared Tuesday.
Tsvetanov, who officially opened the refugee camp near the border with Tukey, announced an expert committee from the European Commission is to visit and inspect Bulgaria's preparedness to join the Schengen Agreement. Afterwards, the EU Interior Ministers will gather and take the political decision on the issue, he added.
A total of EUR 160 M has been absorbed by the Bulgaria in relation to its Schengen bid, 80% of which under the current government, Tsvetanov pointed out upon opening Lyubimets, which will have the capacity to temporarily accommodate 340 asylum seekers at once.
Bulgaria was originally supposed to join Schengen together with Romania in March 2011. However, its failure to meet some border control criteria, and the political opposition of France and Germany – backed to date by Sweden and Austria, among others – has left the hopes of the two Balkan states to make it into Schengen up in the air. Bulgaria and Romania now hope to be able to join the borderless zone before the end of 2011.
In February, Sandor Pinter, Hungarian Minister of Interior, observing Bulgaria's Schengen fitness as Hungary holds the rotating EU Presidency, announced that EU experts will examine again Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen preparedness in late April or early May.
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