Bulgaria Blames Schengen Failure on Romania, EU PopulismBulgaria in EU | October 26, 2012, Friday // 13:51| views
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has stated that his country "has unfortunately become a victim of the internal political debates in some European countries." File photo by BGNES
Bulgarian officials have blamed the country's latest failure to join the Schengen Agreement on Romania's upcoming Co-operation and Verification Mechanism report an on "internal political debates" in some EU countries.
Expectedly, EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council postponed its decision on Bulgaria and Romania's accession to the Schengen area on Thursday.
A decision on the two countries' accession has, so far, not been taken because the required unanimity has not been achieved.
"I can decisively declare that the problem is not with Bulgaria," Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has commented, as cited by local media.
"The phased-in approach is acceptable for both us and Romania, but apparently we have to wait until Romania does it work," he added.
According to Plevneliev, "the big difference" was made by the European Commission's move to schedule a CVM report on Romania for the end of 2012 and a CVM report on Bulgaria for the end of 2013.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has stated that his country "has unfortunately become a victim of the internal political debates in some European countries." He has also blamed the postponement on "populism."
Tsvetanov has also declared that Bulgaria supports the visa-free regime for the Western Balkan countries.
In September, when the Interior Ministers of EU Member States were also expected to discuss Schengen expansion, the meeting was postponed on the grounds that too few of the issues on the agenda had reached a stage allowing decisions to be made.
Over the past months, Germany and Belgium grew increasingly skeptical towards Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen bids.
The current proposal for the two EU newcomers suggests a two-step approach: In a first step, checks on persons would be abolished at internal sea and air borders with and between Bulgaria and Romania; at the same time,the two countries would fully join the Schengen Information System (SIS). In a second step, checks on persons at internal land borders would be lifted.
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