Netherlands Softens Stance on Bulgaria's Schengen Entry
The Netherlands has "considerably softened" its stance on Bulgaria's Schengen entry bid, according to Bulgarian media.
Dutch State Secretary for Security and Justice Fred Teeven has stated that Bulgaria is ready to join Europe's border-free zone.
The Netherlands sees Bulgaria as a secure and safe partner, Teeven has said, according to the Bulgarian National Television.
"I had a very open and sincere conversation with Bulgarian government officials and Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov and I was convinced that Bulgaria is prepared," he has said, as cited by dnevnik.bg.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov was on an official visit to the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Bulgaria and Romania expect at least a partial accession to Schengen in 2013 through the opening of air and maritime borders.
Although the two countries meet the technical criteria for Schengen membership, the Netherlands has blocked their bids over the lack of results in the fight against corruption and organized crime.
Germany and Belgium started echoing the opposition of the Dutch government to Schengen expansion in the fall of 2012.
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