Bulgaria Stands Firm on Schengen Membership Bid, Says Foreign Minister

EU | December 15, 2023, Friday // 13:25|  views

Mariya Gabriel

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel emphasized Bulgaria's unwavering stance on its Schengen entry aspirations, vowing to maintain the hard-earned progress and efforts in joining the border-free zone. Gabriel conveyed this commitment while addressing reporters during her participation in a session of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee.

Gabriel stressed Bulgaria's dedication to upholding its position that the nation has met the requisites for Schengen membership. She referenced an October 18 European Commission report lauding Bulgaria's robust border management, efficient surveillance, and consistent border checks. She also highlighted a successful mission in November that reinforced Bulgaria's strides in meeting Schengen criteria.

Amid ongoing discussions with the Netherlands and Austria, Gabriel underlined the significance of other member states' positions. Expressing gratitude to the Spanish EU Council Presidency for prioritizing the Schengen agenda, she underscored the need for Bulgaria's phased entry that encompasses air, land, and sea borders, aiming to streamline trade, reduce border congestion, and benefit citizens.

Responding to queries about potential conditions for entry, Gabriel clarified that Bulgaria has fulfilled all prerequisites. Discussions revolve around voluntary measures aligned with Schengen legislation, focusing on jointly securing the EU's external borders. She emphasized the collaborative nature of these actions, distinct from imposed conditions.

Addressing speculations about external pressures during negotiations, Gabriel acknowledged the negotiation dynamics, ensuring no separation between Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen aspirations. She emphasized the importance of both countries maintaining solidarity throughout the process.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Schengen, negotiations, EU

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