Bulgaria’s PM to "Politico": We invited Dutch and Austrian Experts to Monitor our BorderPolitics | June 29, 2023, Thursday // 09:58| views
Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov
Bulgaria invited specialists from the Dutch and Austrian customs services to monitor operations at the Turkish border to try to dispel concerns that hinder its bid to join the Schengen area for free travel, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov told Politico last night.
Denkov points out that Austria and the Netherlands are the two main countries that are skeptical about Bulgaria's entry into Schengen and said that he will hold meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer today to respond to their concerns.
They are largely focused on migration, especially along the notoriously problematic Turkish-Bulgarian border, which has long been a major transit point for smuggling people, drugs and weapons from the Middle East to Europe, Politico notes.
"We will try to involve the partners from Austria and the Netherlands as much as possible so that they can see what is happening at the border, because it is not easy there," said Denkov, who was in Brussels for the first time since taking office earlier this year.
He said he welcomed the cooperation with the two countries, who would then be able to make "technical recommendations" for the security of the Turkish border.
He adds that a special unit is being created in Bulgaria, jointly with Europol, to combat human trafficking.
The plan to share customs experience, part of an "international pilot project" launched in March under Bulgaria's previous government and partly funded by the European Commission, is an attempt to "build trust" and show that "we are doing our best there", said the Bulgarian PM.
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