Bulgaria Still Seeking Schengen Membership by Air Border – Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva has said that Bulgaria keeps insisting on being granted partial Schengen membership by air border.
Kuneva said in a media statement after a General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels that Bulgaria’s reasons for seeking partial Schengen membership included the fact that it would entitle it to take full advantage from the instruments of the Schengen Information System (SIS) related to cross border “hot pursuit” and the identification ofpeople banned from entering the Schengen Area.
Kuneva noted that Monday’s General Affairs Council meeting had ended with consensus on the fact that solidarity towards the refugee crisis in Europe had no alternative.
She said that the participants in the meeting had agreed that 28 different policies on asylum seekers in the EU would not solve the problem and that a common migration policy was necessary.
Kuneva pointed out that the representatives of Schengen countries which had introduced temporary border checks had underscored that they were not questioning the existence of the Schengen Area and the free movement of people in the EU.
She also made clear that Bulgaria was not using the issue of Schengen accession as a bargaining chip in the debates on refugee relocation quotas, adding that Bulgaria believed that solidarity was a matter of national interest and also a matter of common EU values.
Kuneva said that allowing Bulgaria to join the Schengen Area by air and granting the country access to the Schengen Information System would be a clear sign by the Member States that they were not giving up on Schengen and wanted it to develop.
Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister informed that Monday’s meeting had included discussions on topics such as strengthening Frontex, defining safe countries of origin and taking registration centers outside the EU.
She emphasized that Bulgaria had demanded that these centers be stationed outside the EU, not outside Schengen.
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