Bulgaria Remains Confident to Join Schengen by Year's End

September 12, 2023
[caption id="attachment_2073" align="alignleft" width="990"]Nessebar, Bulgaria Nessebar, Bulgaria[/caption] Bulgaria hopes to become a member of the Schengen area before the end of the year, that is, in October and December, as announced by Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov. Along with Romania, this Eastern European country aims to become a member of the Schengen area, but Austria and the Netherlands are blocking its path, citing its inability to control irregular migration flows. This may be related to the election campaign in the Netherlands, while Austria believes that Bulgaria's efforts to stem irregular migration flows on its external border with Turkey are insufficient and are the reason This is why Bulgaria is not ready to become a member. On the other hand, Denkov stated that if Bulgaria honors all its commitments and passes the necessary legislation, no one will have a significant argument against the country's entry into the Schengen area. The Bulgarian Prime Minister also emphasized that Spain, which holds the EU presidency from July 2023, supports the admission of these two countries into the Schengen area. Previously in 2023, the Netherlands hinted that it could lift its veto on Bulgaria and the only remaining country opposing its Schengen membership would be Austria. One of the reasons for these countries' protests is the important judicial reform in Bulgaria and the Commission's decision to end the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) in both countries. However, in early July, Mark Rutte's coalition government in the Netherlands resigned after coalition members failed to agree on the country's immigration policy, affecting Romania's admission process and Bulgaria, causing unrest over their status. Bulgaria hopes Rutte's stance will soften thanks to the Balkan nation's support for Ukraine and judicial reform, but also a victory for the coalition between the Dutch center-left party PvdA (S&D) and GroenLinks (Greens). . The left has a better chance of winning the domestic election after joining forces ahead of snap elections for parliament in November. However, one of the candidates at the top of the Dutch left-wing list is former European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who announced in July that he would no longer hold the Brussels post and instead wants to participate in elections in the Netherlands. Timmermans is known historically for pushing for Bulgaria and Romania to become members of the Schengen area.

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