Bulgarian Foreign Minister: EC Progress Reports to be Lifted by 2018

Bulgaria in EU | January 18, 2014, Saturday // 17:12|  views

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, photo by BGNES

Bulgaria expects the co-operation and verification mechanism (CVM) of the European Commission to be lifted by 2018, according to Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin.

In a Saturday interview for Darik radio, Vigenin pointed out that Bulgaria would take over the six-month rotating EU presidency in 2018, adding that under the best-case scenario, the CVM reports would be dropped by then and the issue of Bulgaria's accession to Schengen would be resolved.

He claimed that the upcoming EC report on Bulgaria's progress in the spheres of justice and home affairs, due on January 22, was not likely to be positive.

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister, as cited by mediapool.bg, suggested that the CVM report was unlikely to contain a recommendation for the abolition of the monitoring mechanism.

He insisted that 2013 had been a year of serious political and governmental changes, adding that the EC progress report would span parts of terms in office of three governments, including the center-right GERB government, the caretaker government and the start of the term in office of the current socialist-led coalition government.

Vigenin argued, however, that it was illogical for Bulgaria and Romania to still be under the CVM mechanism seven years after their EU accession.

He noted that the existing monitoring mechanism of the EC had exhausted its possibilities and the model had to be changed.

"If this mechanism was really adequate and successful enough, it should probably have yielded results," Bulgaria's Foreign Minister declared, adding that the implementation of reforms would be on the agenda of talks with the next European Commission panel.

Vigenin claimed that an elegant way of getting rid of the monitoring mechanism was its revocation at the proposal of the countries which had initiated it.

Bulgaria's Foreign Minister said that it was realistic to expect an invitation to join the Schengen Area by end-2014, the opening of borders expected to take place in two stages – air borders first, and land borders in a year or two.

Vigenin claimed that it had been a mistake on the part of the previous government to tie the Schengen bid to the co-operation and verification mechanism of the EC.

He also informed that the Bulgarian government was going to open three new consular offices, one in Milan (Italy), one in Erbil (Kurdistan) and one in Yekaterinburg (Russia), in a bid to facilitate the development of economic ties and tourism.

"We are also considering strengthening our embassies in Asia and, if possible, opening new representations there," Bulgaria's Foreign Minister explained.

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Tags: Kristian Vigenin, Foreign Minister, Schengen, Schengen Accession, Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), progress report, European Commission, justice and home affairs


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