Bulgarian President Self-Soothing over Germany's Schengen Veto

Bulgaria in EU | August 5, 2012, Sunday // 18:59|  views

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has said he expects an objective assessment of Bulgaria's readiness to join the Schengen Area. Photo by BGNES

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has admitted that he is somewhat worried by the recent statement of German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich that Bulgaria will not join the Schengen Agreement by end-2012.

Bulgaria's head of state said that the interview was cause for concern, despite the fact that it had been given for a regional German media outlet and had been the sole such signal on Germany's part concerning Bulgaria's Schengen accession.

"So far, Bulgarian institutions have not received any other tip-offs about a change of stance on the part of Germany except for the interview given by German Foreign Minister for a regional media outlet," Plevneliev stated Sunday.

"I believe that Bulgaria will get a positive assessment. We are convinced that the two-stage plan is right. We are expecting an adequate evaluation of our efforts," he emphasized.

"You know that Bulgaria is doing a great job with the Schengen borders, much better than many other countries," Plevneliev added.

Germany's Interior Minister spoke Friday in favor of strengthening control at the internal borders of the Schengen Area.

Friedrich argued that the idea was backed by most EU countries and voiced hopes that the European Parliament would take steps to amend the legislation in the sphere by end-2012.

"I believe that currently it is impossible to have open borders with Romania and Bulgaria," Friedrich stated, commenting on Bulgaria's Schengen bid.

He backed a two-stage Schengen entry plan for the two countries, first by ports and airports, and then by land borders, voicing skepticism over the possibilities to launch the first phase in 2012.

Friedrich's statement clashed with the stance of European Council President Herman van Rompuy, who expressed moderate optimism that Bulgaria could join Schengen in September.

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Tags: Bulgarian President, Rosen Plevneliev, Schengen, Schengen Area, Hans-Peter Friedrich, Germany, Germany's Interior Minister, Romania


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