The VP of the European Parliament: Bulgaria has done its Homework for Schengen
"Bulgaria has done its homework for Schengen, there are no obstacles to its membership." This was stated by the Vice President of the European Parliament, Evelyn Regner, on Nova TV.
"Bulgaria is also part of the Schengen family, having fulfilled all the criteria for membership. I am watching very closely when it will board for Schengen and I am very embarrassed by the official position of my country", Regner said, according to which the actions of the Austrian government are "a very bad move".
According to her, Austria's position is nothing but a transfer to internal political problems. "You have done your homework for Schengen. You have fulfilled all the criteria and there is not a single objective reason to hinder your membership there. Bulgaria must be part of Schengen. That's it!", she said categorically.
The chances for the Eurozone
"Each party must fulfill its obligations under our general contract, and at this time you do not meet all the criteria. The new deadline is 2025. The decision is up to Bulgaria and you have to balance and weigh your options. You must decide whether it is better for your population to join or not. The solution is as much economic as political. As a signal to Europe it will be good because it is our common currency".
According to her, the situation is calming down, but there is more to be done both at the European and national level, and the state must intervene.
"If we look at the countries that are doing well nationally – one of the solutions is to stop the rise in rents. States should intervene here, not the market looking for a solution. To reduce the VAT on the most necessary foods and to support vulnerable groups. At European level, it is high time to break the link between electricity and gas prices, which are linked. Thus, people will not feel the pressure of electricity prices as much. Another measure is the so-called excess profit taxes", Regner commented.
On the tensions between Bulgaria and North Macedonia
"We want to remove the borders, not put new ones. Bulgaria is part of the European Union. As I told you, I am a defender of entering Schengen. On the other side is North Macedonia. They have fulfilled so many things that we asked of them. They even changed their name. And they really did a lot to fulfill the conditions. I want to say to both sides - Calm down! It's not good to provoke each other. It's not a good signal when North Macedonia provokes Bulgaria, but on the other hand, you can be an example and say 'Let's work as neighbors'", said the vice-president of the European Parliament.
On the Istanbul Convention
"Even if it does not agree, once approved by the EU, Bulgaria must implement the Istanbul Convention in its legislation. The decision was taken democratically within the Union. The majority decided it and it is mandatory for everyone", Regner is categorical.
"In fact, the Istanbul Convention is a very simple document. It says 'You have no right over violence against women'. From my point of view, this is the most normal thing in the world. It says that it is the duty of states to protect their citizens from violence - if a man beats his wife, if a brother assaults his sister. It is a bridge to criminal law. I know that there are several countries, including Bulgaria, who read the Istanbul Convention in a different way, but there is no reason for this."
According to her, if our country refuses to approve the document, sanctions will be imposed on it.
Reger is an Austrian lawyer and politician. For the past 14 years, she has been a member of the European Parliament, and from 2022 - vice president. She is part of the Alliance of Progressive Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. A major focus of her work is tax justice, eliminating income inequality, and protecting women's rights and gender equality.
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