site.btaEuropean Commission: Objective Remains for Bulgaria, Romania to Join Schengen by End-2023
Speaking to journalists before the final meeting of EU justice and home affairs ministers for 2023, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said Tuesday that a new inspection has recently been undertaken in Bulgaria regarding the country's readiness to enter Schengen. Johansson stressed that Bulgaria and Romania are well prepared to join Schengen, adding that she aims for a decision to be taken until the end of 2023.
Also on Tuesday, Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska voiced hope that Schengen enlargement will take place as soon as possible. “We have repeatedly said that Europe will be stronger with Bulgaria and Romania’s full accession to Schengen”, he noted, adding that the Spanish presidency of the EU Council will continue its work until the end of the year.
Commenting on the discussion on Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen candidacies in Brussels on Tuesday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov said that there has been a major change in the situation in recent months thanks to the government's efforts. Denkov recalled that a foreign mission with representatives of Austria and the Netherlands came to Bulgaria in November to check its readiness to join Schengen. He said that the mission resulted in an extremely positive report, as the representatives of both countries signed it, which, according to him, means that they accept that there is a lot of progress. On Tuesday and Wednesday, this information will be presented to the EU interior ministers so that it becomes clear that there is progress, Denkov stressed.
In his words, diplomatic efforts to find a solution to be adopted until end-December continue. "At the moment, it is more difficult to negotiate with the Netherlands, but it does not mean that this is not possible, so negotiations are on-going," Denkov also said.