Bulgaria's Annual Losses Exceed BGN 1 Billion Due to Schengen Non-Admission

Politics |Author: Diana Kavardzhikova | April 16, 2024, Tuesday // 11:00|  views


Bulgaria's economy experiences annual losses amounting to hundreds of millions of euros due to its exclusion from land-based Schengen membership. The enduring queues of lorries at border crossings persist, imposing significant financial burdens on the nation. This situation translates into a substantial increase of 15% to 18% in the prices of goods in shops across the country.

Annually, Bulgaria hemorrhages over a billion BGN as a result of its non-membership in the Schengen area. The most severe repercussions are felt not at the northern border with Romania, but rather at the Danube Bridge, where lorry drivers endure average wait times of 14 to 16 hours to cross the border. In response, the Union of International Carriers has called for Bulgaria's swift accession to full Schengen membership to mitigate these losses.

Lorry drivers, bearing the brunt of these inefficiencies, lament the substantial financial toll and logistical challenges they face. One driver expressed the frustration of losing 200 BGN per day, in addition to the opportunity costs incurred by delayed deliveries. The accumulated waiting time, often exacerbated by adverse weather conditions, significantly disrupts their schedules, doubling or even tripling the time required to reach their destinations.

The cumulative impact of Bulgaria's exclusion from land-based Schengen membership surpasses a billion BGN, marking a staggering loss for the nation's economy. Factors contributing to this loss include the financial toll on drivers, the compromised operational capacity of Bulgarian businesses, and the resultant economic stagnation due to prolonged waiting times.

Remarkably, the waiting time at Danube Bridge 2 averages 16 hours, effectively nullifying an entire working day for haulers. However, the decision to grant Bulgaria full membership in the Schengen area remains contingent upon political deliberations and is unlikely to materialize until after the formation of the new European Parliament.

Angel Trakov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Union of International Carriers, emphasized that this issue cannot be postponed, stressing the need to alert all relevant institutions to prevent further incurring of such expenses.

Yordan Arabadjiev, SMP's Executive Director, emphasized the transportation sector's anticipation of proactive involvement from all institutions and urged recognition of the issue without political division. Additionally, the Union of International Carriers affirmed its commitment to sharing the research findings with all relevant institutions.

Looking ahead, it is anticipated that progress towards Bulgaria's full integration into the Schengen area may occur towards the end of the year, contingent upon effective collaboration and advocacy from Bulgarian institutions.

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Tags: Schengen, economy, border, Bulgaria


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