site.btaEU Commissioner Commends Bulgarian Authorities for Exercising Strict Control at Bulgaria-Turkiye Border
The European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, Mairead McGuinness, Tuesday visited the Kapitan Andreevo crossing on the Bulgarian border with Turkiye, “to physically see the enormity of the task here on the ground”, to use her own words as she spoke to the press afterwards. She commended the Bulgarian authorities for their determination to exercise strict control on “everything that comes and goes at this border point”.
Kapitan Andreevo is Europe's largest land border crossing.
Commissioner McGuinness pointed out that the number of trucks "is increasing all the time and this is a really important crossing point for the EU”.
She explained that the reason she came here - to the border but also in Sofia on Monday when she met with Prime Minister - was “to listen to the concerns so we can help more and increase the level of cooperation”.
“This is an important border point for Europe because everything that comes in needs to be checked. I was very interested to see how that happens: the X-ray machines we saw, the dogs looking for drugs, counterfeit goods… So, it is one thing to hear about it, it is another thing to see it in operation on the ground,” the Commissioner said.
Asked if she was satisfied with what she saw, she said: “I am very satisfied that we have a strong determination by the Bulgarian authorities to check everything that comes and goes at this border point. That’s important not just for Bulgaria, it is important for the EU.”
She “very publicly” thanked the head of customs at Kapitan Andreevo for his job. “He spoke very clearly about the importance of cooperation across Europe.”
She said that every time the EU increases the depth of sanctions, Russia and its friends find ways of getting around them. “So we need to be particularly careful about information sharing so that we understand where the problems may lie.”
Commissioner McGuinness spoke at length about the circumvention of sanctions: “In addition to that we have said – I think the Minister has alluded to this - that the circumvention of sanctions is real. We know there are problems because we are hearing of dual-use goods ending up on the battlefield. But equally strong is our determination as a Commission to assist the member states in the implement of sanctions.”
Asked to give an example of how the restrictions on dual-use goods are bypassed, she mentioned the microchips in consumer electronics, even in some common household equipment, that can be used for other purposes.
She said she is aware that some member states are better equipped than others to implement sanctions and fight the sanctions evasion, and added that the EC has a role to provide assistance to all Member States.
“I want to thank the Minister and colleagues for facilitating this visit. We had a very open conversations around keeping up to speed with criminal activity. I heard in great detail about the cash seizures that are being made here. This is a significant amount money that very probably had an illegal origin and that’s very important that we stop that because it isn’t only about seizing the cash – it is about stopping the criminal activity behind it and very often that’s about prostitution, drug use, kidnapping. It is a big societal issue when we seize cash and stop criminals," said Commissioner McGuinness.