Bulgaria's Schengen aspirations

site.btaEuropean Commissioner Gabriel: It Is Time for EU Members to Show that Meeting Schengen Criteria Should Result in Accession

European Commissioner Gabriel: It Is Time for EU Members to Show that Meeting Schengen Criteria Should Result in Accession
European Commissioner Gabriel: It Is Time for EU Members to Show that Meeting Schengen Criteria Should Result in Accession
European Commissioner Gabriel (BTA Photo)

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, told reporters here on Saturday it is time the EU Member States showed that when the Schengen criteria are met, the corresponding decision needs to be taken. She was commenting on the Netherlands’ position against Bulgaria joining the European border-free area. 

She expressed the hope that there is still time until December 8 when the Council is expected to take a decision on the matter. The European Commission firmly backs the Schengen accession of Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia, Gabriel said. “I sincerely hope that in this situation arguments will not be used that have no place in this discussion,” she added. “Here the message is for Bulgaria and for what has been done by the country, the message is for the Bulgarian citizens, the message is for the EU which, when it says there are values, those values should apply to everyone,” Gabriel also said.

Commenting on Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s statement that one can cross the Bulgarian border in exchange for EUR 50, the European Commission said there is no place for such comments, because a country enters Schengen following a technical assessment, and the last missions have shown Bulgaria has met these criteria.

Asked about the possibility of Bulgaria and Romania getting decoupled for Schengen and  a Schengen border being made between them, Gabriel expressed the hope that those who assume such a scenario, realize the consequences, particularly in the geostrategical situation the EU finds itself in and in which Bulgaria is an external border of the Union. 

Late on Friday, news reports in the Netherlands said that it would back the Schengen accession of Romania and Croatia but not that of Bulgaria. They also said that the Dutch government had decided at a meeting the same day that Bulgaria does not yet meet the conditions for joining the European border-free area.

/DS/

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By 11:36 on 02.02.2023 Today`s news

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