Borisov Pledges to Belgian PM to Eagle-Eye Schengen Borders

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | November 24, 2010, Wednesday // 17:50
Bulgaria: Borisov Pledges to Belgian PM to Eagle-Eye Schengen Borders Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov (R) and his Belgian counterpart Yves Leterme (L) met in Sofia Wednesday. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's borders are safe and reliable enough in order for the country to join the Schengen Zone, according to Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.

"I will guarantee you that our borders are much safer than Schengen's borders not as a politician, but as a policeman. I hope they will stay safe after we join Schengen," Borisov said upon meeting his Belgian counterpart, Yves Leterme.

Borisov announced he has talked with President of the European People's Party Wilfried Martens about the Balkan country's possible Schengen entry, assuring him that "Bulgaria will succeed in overcoming the resistance, or rather, fear some countries have about Bulgaria joining the Schengen Agreement".

Unlike Romania, Bulgaria is willing that the European monitoring mechanisms on the country's judicial system continue their work. There should be no political pressure on the court's decisions, the Bulgarian PM stated.

Yves Leterme supported the Bulgarian government's decision to continue the monitoring and praised the Bulgarian efforts to enter the visa-free area.

"The Belgian government supports Bulgaria's aspirations to join the Schengen zone as soon as possible."

The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malstrom said that the European Commission is currently studying Bulgaria and Romania's preparedness to join the Schengen visa-free area, and that it will come up with a recommendation on whether to accept the two countries at the beginning of 2011.

Last week Paris said Bulgaria and Romania are not ready to join the Schengen Agreement in March 2011, confirming France's intention to block the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the latest EU entrants, to the borderless Schengen Area, which was first indicated by France's Minister for European Affairs, Pierre Lellouche.

The Balkan country has also started working with the Schengen Information System (SIS).

Bulgaria's government has been keeping a low profile over France's Roma crackdown, apparently fearing that tension with Paris might put at risk its Schengen accession.

The country hopes to join the EU's border-free zone by the end of 2011 as scheduled and the official line is that recent expulsions of mostly Romanian and Bulgarian Roma from France is irrelevant to that process.

Bulgaria submitted its formal declaration of readiness in September 2007 and sent European authorities follow-up reports, penning in March 2011 as the target date for accession to the Schengen zone.

The estimates turned meaningless due to a delay in the award of a tender to produce biometric passports and lack of progress on the second generation of the EU's Schengen Information System, more commonly known as SISII.

The 1985 Schengen Agreement is an agreement among most Western and Central European countries which allows for the abolition of systematic border controls between the participating countries.

By the Treaty of Amsterdam, the agreement itself and all decisions having been enacted on its basis had been implemented into the law of the European Union.

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Tags: Bulgarian Prime Minister, Schengen, Belgian, Yves Leterme, France, EU
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