The European Commission will return the Monitoring of the Rule of Law in BulgariaEU | February 2, 2023, Thursday // 17:00| views
Bulgaria will be the subject of a new report summarizing the country's achievements since 2019, when the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism was terminated. This new report should show progress on the rule of law.
The caretaker Foreign Minister Nikolay Milkov made the admission in his report on the work done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rumen Radev's first cabinet, but his words went unnoticed on January 27, when it was made. It is difficult to notice in the analysis of BTA from yesterday, as it is mentioned at the end of the text dedicated to the news about Bulgaria and Romania regarding their membership in the Schengen area.
In practice, this means a return to the already suspended monitoring of the European Commission on the mechanism.
"If no progress is made, this may further cause a problem for Bulgaria's candidacy (for entry into Schengen) when it begins to be considered in the middle of the year," warned Milkov.
In his words, "if the report satisfies the Netherlands, it would be ready to participate in verification missions in Bulgaria, which would prove the final technical readiness, that Bulgaria has also adopted the latest achievements of the Schengen mechanisms", explained Milkov. In this case, our country has a chance to become a Schengen member in the fall, concludes the foreign minister.
Nikolay Milkov believes, however, that Bulgaria and Romania are hostages of processes taking place in Schengen.
"Because Schengen is not working properly, those who are outside Schengen should be punished. This is the paradox of the situation," Milkov summarized.
And the Austrian position is dictated mainly by its assessment of the ineffectiveness of the Schengen mechanisms and rather Vienna's claims are towards the European Commission. Milkov believes that European countries have gradually adopted the narrative that the Netherlands and some other skeptical countries have been able to push over the years, namely that rule of law mechanisms are part of the assessment and should be part of the criteria for Schengen membership.
"This is a fact that we cannot ignore, and for this reason we have made an effort to convince our partners how far we have come with the mechanism and what we have managed to change after 2019," he further explained, making it clear that Bulgaria has agreed to meet the conditions.
The problem is that Bulgaria is in a more disadvantageous position than Romania, since the Netherlands has no objections to the fulfillment of the Bucharest criteria. Our northern neighbor only has to contend with Austria's reluctance. While Bulgaria has two firm "NO's" - from both the Netherlands and Austria, and this will not change if it does not adopt more laws and - more importantly - start implementing them.
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