Bulgaria MEP: Exact Date for Schengen Entry No DramaBulgaria in EU | June 12, 2011, Sunday // 17:14| views
Maria Nedelcheva, MEP from the ruling center-right GERB party. Photo by BGNES
A Bulgarian member of the European Parliament has warned against escalating tensions over the exact date of the country's accession to the visa-free Schengen zone, which has been delayed until mid-2012 at the earliest.
"Let's turn the logic upside down, let's try not to exert any pressure or blame anyone because our accession to the Schengen zone will not happen now, but just do our job properly," Maria Nedelcheva, MEP from the ruling center-right GERB party, said during her visit in Belogradchik.
According to her Bulagrian politicians should not focus all their efforts on a specific date for accession but proceed with the "perfect operation" of the Schengen Information System and the maintenance of EU external borders security.
"Now that all technical criteria are met, let's keep on showing that we are doing our job well, and at one point our partners' trust will increase and the date for our entry will duly be set," said Nedelcheva.
She gave as an example the change in sentiments among the members of the European Parliament.
"Two months ago the French lawmakers did not want to hear about changing their opinion, but their Bulgarian colleagues continued telling them what Bulgarians do and the vote this week speaks for itself - the European Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed the country's accession with the support of French and German delegation."
Bulgaria and Romania will not join the European Union's passport-free Schengen area until mid-2012 at the earliest, the bloc's interior ministers decided on Thursday.
European Union interior ministers met in Luxembourg just a day after the non-binding vote of the European Parliament, which allowed Bulgarians and Romanians to travel across Europe without a passport.
EU interior ministers acknowledged that Bulgaria and Romania's border controls have risen up to meet Schengen standards, but said the decision of their governments on when to accept new members into the zone will be based on wider criteria, including judicial reform and the fight against corruption.
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