Bulgaria Eyes Simultaneous Schengen and Eurozone Entry

World » EU | January 25, 2024, Thursday // 14:00
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Eyes Simultaneous Schengen and Eurozone Entry

In a recent interview with GERB MEP Andrey Novakov, Bulgaria's trajectory toward Schengen and Eurozone accession came under the spotlight. Novakov, expressing confidence, hinted at the possibility of securing a 2025 entry date into the land-based Schengen zone once Austria forms a new government. He emphasized that Bulgaria's commitment to Schengen entry is resolute, and he sees potential for navigating the intricacies of simultaneous entry into the Eurozone.

Novakov addressed criticisms from the opposition, dismissing concerns about border queues as temporary and assuring that they would soon dissipate. He framed the delays as a consequence of Austria's upcoming elections, where nationalist rhetoric is being leveraged for political gains. Novakov argued that Bulgaria's obligations to the EU, particularly regarding the Dublin agreement on refugees, remain unchanged.

On the topic of Eurozone entry, Novakov acknowledged that Bulgaria has fulfilled Schengen criteria but highlighted the need to reduce inflation to 2%, a prerequisite for Eurozone participation. He anticipated that tackling inflation would be a crucial task for the incoming government.

Regarding the use of EU funds, Novakov admitted that Bulgaria is at risk of losing funds due to delays in implementing the Public Administration Reform Programme (PVU). He explained that while the PVU was ready in 2020, it only started paying out in 2023, leaving a tight timeframe until the end of 2026. Novakov expressed concern about the potential loss of funds but noted that achieving over 80% utilization would still be commendable.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Schengen, Eurozone, novakov

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