The Bulgarian MEPs with a Joint Declaration on Schengen
In connection with today's upcoming debate in the European Parliament regarding the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area, Bulgarian MEPs from all groups issued a joint declaration in support of our accession to Schengen.
"We, the representatives of Bulgaria in the EP, believe that the ongoing unprecedented 11-year blockade in the Council of the EU cannot and should not be tolerated anymore.
The removal of control at the internal borders of Bulgaria and Romania is of key importance, both for the economy and security of the two countries, and for the EU as a whole. The technical readiness for the protection of the external borders of our two countries was confirmed by the European Commission as early as 2011, and since then, this assessment has been repeatedly confirmed by various institutions at the EU level, including the European Parliament. In 2018, in a special resolution initiated in the Stanishev report and supported by all Bulgarian MEPs, the EP insisted on the immediate abolition of border control with Bulgaria and Romania at the same time on all borders - land, sea and air. In May, the EC presented the annual report on the state of Schengen for 2022, calling once again for the consolidation of the Schengen area through the full admission of Bulgaria and Romania. The enlargement of the Schengen area will be a success for the whole EU and will make the external borders stronger and more resilient.
Until then, however, the Council's decision remains entirely political. It hides behind bureaucratic arguments, citing reasons not directly related to border management. Unfortunately, this neglect of the two countries, despite their technical readiness, fuels skepticism about decision-making at the EU level, and a further delay would increase the risk of distrust in the EU's will to fulfill its political commitments.
In times of inflation, uncertainty in energy markets and strained supply chains, the effects of the pandemic and military conflict on the continent, increased migration flows and prevailing general uncertainty, the countries of Eastern Europe must receive the much-desired green light for formal Schengen membership. The opposite would lead to negative consequences - economic and political.
We, the Bulgarian representatives in the European Parliament, call on the Council of the EU to take a decision based on the fulfillment of the objective criteria, which does not put European integration at a dead end, but gives a new beginning. From the moment of its accession to the European Union in 2007, Bulgaria fulfills all the obligations of the Schengen external border, and over the years it has continuously proved that it is a reliable and predictable partner. It is time for our country to assume, in addition to the obligations, the rights that the Schengen area gives to citizens and businesses.
Gone are the days of tolerating the eternal wait for double standards to be lifted. It's time for action!", says the statement issued by Petar Vitanov's press office.
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