Borisov is Waiting for the Final "Yes" for Schengen - from Mark Rutte, Arriving in Sofia Tomorrow
Tomorrow the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte will be welcomed in Sofia by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. It will be a conversation after which the last obstacle before our entry into Schengen might fall.
Currently, the Netherlands is considered to be the most serious opponent of Bulgaria's accession to Schengen. Until recently, Germany also had reservations, but during her visit to Sofia two weeks ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel declared support. "Soon, gradually and in stages, Bulgaria will begin joining the area", she assured. And in front of her, Borisov said directly - the Netherlands remains our only obstacle. Following Merkel's strong support, Rutte is expected to soften his position on February 6th.
The Dutch prime minister lands in Sofia in the evening and has not yet confirmed whether his schedule would allow a tour of the fence with Turkey, such as the one when Borisov made possible for Victor Orban and David Cameron. But surely the message of the Bulgarian Prime Minister will be unambiguous - our country is strictly guarding the EU's external border and this is recognized by all other members.
"There are unreasonable motives to keep us out of Schengen," Borisov stressed last week from Brussels. His words came in response to criticism aimed at Bulgaria and Romania by Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann, but after Merkel's firm support Germany is already among the allies of Bulgaria in regards to the entry to Schengen. (What are the attitudes of the Schengen Member States - see the map.)
French President Emmanuel Macron also admitted that Bulgaria has met all the criteria. He did so during his visit to Bulgaria in 2017. But the French argument is that Schengen is bound to be reformed before enlargement with new countries in order to achieve greater efficiency in the protection of the continent. Austria was also very skeptical until recently, but federal Foreign Minister Karin Kneeisl also promised support from Vienna when she visited Sofia in January. Borisov expects to hear this personally by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who is expected to come to Sofia in the middle of the month.
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