Luxembourg Minister Deeply Skeptical about Bulgaria’s Partial Accession to Schengen

Bulgaria in EU | July 16, 2015, Thursday // 12:16|  views

Jean Asselborn, photo by EPA/BGNES

Jean Asselborn, Minister of Immigration and Asylum of Luxembourg, has expressed deep skepticism about the possibility of even a partial accession to Schengen of Bulgaria.

“I am acquainted with the attitudes in the other EU Member States and I am very pessimistic about the chances of this happening during our Presidency,” he declared at a hearing at the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee (LIBE).

His statement came in response to a question of Bulgarian socialist MEP Ilyana Yotova, Vice-Chair of the LIBE, in connection with the possibility of Bulgaria joining the visa-free Schengen zone by at least air borders.

Yotova, as cited by her press office, insisted that one could always find an excuse to keep Bulgaria and Romania outside Schengen, yet at the same time Bulgaria was expected to be a secure external EU border.

She argued that the challenges created as a result of the refugee flows highlighted the need to allow Bulgaria to become a full member of the Schengen area.

Asselborn vowed that the Presidency of the Council of the European Union would do everything possible to take the issue of Bulgaria’s Schengen membership forward and to make sure that consensus is reached on the matter at the Council.

Yotova reminded Asselborn that only four EU Member States had expressed willingness to accept refugees under a voluntary resettlement scheme for 40 000 migrants from Italy and Greece over the next two years.

Asselborn noted that the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union was determined to achieve a positive decision on the matter by the end of July, adding that he felt very hopeful about the upcoming meeting of the Council at the beginning of next week.

Yotova, one of the authors of the report of the European Parliament on the resettlement of the 40 000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to EU countries, asked questions related to migration.

She expressed her appreciation for the support of the Luxembourg EU Council Presidency, adding that a very tense vote was to be held Friday morning at the LIBE.

According to the agenda of the European Parliament, the report is to be put to the vote in plenary in September.

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Tags: Iliana Iotova, Iliyana Yotova, EU external border, Schengen Area, Schengen Agreeement, Civil Liberties Committee, LIBE, Schengen, European parliament, MEP, refugee influx


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