Bulgaria's Interior Minister to his Austrian Colleague: Schengen needs Bulgaria

Politics | April 20, 2023, Thursday // 12:28
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Interior Minister to his Austrian Colleague: Schengen needs Bulgaria Ivan Demerdzhiev (right) and Gerhard Karner (left)

Within the framework of the visit to Austria, Deputy Prime Minister for Public Order and Security and Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Demerdzhiev held a meeting with his colleague Gerhard Karner, Federal Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Austria. The emphasis in the talks was placed on the recent positive resolution of the issue of Bulgaria's Schengen membership.

Minister Demerdzhiev expressed satisfaction with the intensive contacts between the two countries in recent months and confirmed the readiness of our country for permanent and open dialogue and joint actions to strengthen trust.

"Effectively countering illegal migration and strengthening trust in the Schengen area are our common goals. Schengen needs Bulgaria," he said, quoted by the press center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Demerdzhiev emphasized that Bulgaria continues to fulfill all commitments as an external border of the EU and further strengthens its contribution to the common efforts to reduce illegal migration and secondary movements.

The interior ministers reviewed the implementation of the Action Plan between Austria and Bulgaria and reported that it is already producing concrete results. In this context, Minister Demerdzhiev introduced his Austrian colleague to the pilot project launched in March with the European Commission, building on the bilateral plan - for fast asylum and return procedures at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. He recalled that our country is working with Europol on the creation of a targeted operational group with a view to achieving an even more effective exchange of information and coordination of joint operations against the trafficking networks and a quick response to security threats.

The Bulgarian interior minister expressed confidence that the results of common initiatives and long-term fruitful cooperation will also lead to our accession to Schengen.

Minister Demerdzhiev pointed out that the migration situation remains dynamic. In 2022, the migratory pressure to Bulgaria was four times higher than in 2021. Since the beginning of the year, attempts to illegally cross the entry borders are nearly 45% more compared to the same period in 2022. Most sensitive to entry is the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

"We are actively working with Turkey at all levels, we are also in dialogue with Serbia. We use the capacity of Frontex and Europol," he added.

Bulgaria's efforts to adopt a positive Decision from the Council of the EU regarding accession to Schengen were also the topic of Minister Demerdzhiev's meeting with Barbara Kaudel-Jensen, adviser on European affairs to the Federal Chancellor.

The very good relations maintained between Bulgaria and Austria both at the bilateral level and within the EU were emphasized. Readiness for even more active and enhanced cooperation on all topics of mutual interest was stated.

During the visit to Austria, the delegation of the Ministry of the Interior took part in a conference dedicated to the fight against human trafficking, organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). In parallel, a working meeting of the senior professional leaders of the law enforcement structures of the two countries was held.

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Tags: Austria, Bulgaria, Schengen, Demerdzhiev
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