site.btaUPDATED EC VP Schinas: Bulgaria Has Fulfilled Everything Necessary for Joining Schengen
Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas commented in an interview with Milena Milotinova on Bulgaria ON AIR that Bulgaria has done its homework and has done everything necessary to join Schengen. The country has done this by consensus, consistently, for a long and sustained period of time, and this can be confirmed by the series of missions and technical inspections that were carried out in Bulgaria and Romania, said Schinas.
The interview was recorded just before EC President Ursula von der Leyen's speech in the EP this Wednesday, when she called for faster acceptance of Bulgaria and Romania in Schengen.
Schinas noted that the delay in the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen has no practical justification. There may be a political one or some member states may have other kind of problems, but as far as the technical aspect of the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into Schengen is concerned, there is no doubt on the matter, he stressed, advising Bulgaria to have a little patience.
The more time passes, the more obvious the progress of Bulgaria and Romania to join Schengen, the less resistance there will be among member states, he argued, adding that, as a Greek, he could imagine what it would mean for the first time to have free travel for 40 million Europeans through the Danube to the Aegean Sea. This will change Europe, commented the Vice President.
He pointed out that, after the many elections in recent years, the fact that now Bulgaria has found a way to political stability with a government with a clear horizon helps to a great extent. He reiterated that there is nothing to fix, because even before this government, Bulgaria had done its job.
On the matter of EU enlargement and the Republic of North Macedonia, the EC Vice President said those countries ready to meet the enlargement requirements regarding the 35 negotiating chapters, can enter the EU. It's that simple. There are no promises or condition of collective enlargement.
Milena Milotinova asked Schinas whether, if the Republic of North Macedonia does not vote on the changes in the Constitution and does not include the Bulgarians and other peoples in the country it it, as agreed precondition under the European negotiation framework, Albania will continue independently on the path of the European negotiations. Schinas replied that he does not want to predict what will happen, but that so far it looks like North Macedonia is working towards fulfilling its conditions.
The EC Vice President said he was confident that North Macedonia will take this decisive step necessary to start negotiations. And if they do, they will have opportunities for negotiations and membership. And in the case of Albania, too there are many requirements to fulfill. He reiterated that when a country is ready, it can join the EU.
Schinas noted, however, that implementation of international agreements is the absolute minimum that is required of member states, and was adamant that after the many unpleasant experiences in the past, there is no way a new country can join the EU without dealing with all its problems related to history, constitutional changes and reforms. These problems they have to solve before they become part of the family.
The EC Vice President added that the threats and crises that this composition of the EC had to face were unprecedented, including the first pandemic since 1918, with back-to-back migration crises, hybrid threats and war at the border. Schinas said that in all that there were two conclusions, two lessons learned. First , Europe has proven to be much more resilient than many would have thought.
The second lesson is that Europe must now stand firmly as an independent geopolitical power, autonomously, without depending on third-party suppliers for energy or raw materials. "We need to be able to organize ourselves, which is largely already happening," said Margaritis Schinas.