Bulgaria’s Deputy PM: Schengen Accession Must Not Be Used for Arms-Twisting
Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva has insisted that using Schengen accession to pressure Bulgaria into fulfilling its EU obligations in the spheres of justice and home affairs is counterproductive.
Kuneva took part Tuesday in a General Affairs Council in Brussels.
She emphasized that it was inadmissible to deprive European Union border countries located near turbulent regions of the security measures offered by the Schengen Area.
Kuneva noted that Bulgaria was implementing its EU commitments and went on to cite the adoption of the judicial reform strategy, the preparation of an administrative reform plan at the Interior Ministry, and the drafting of an anti-corruption plan as positive steps.
Speaking during the General Affairs Council, which was devoted to counter-terrorism measures, she claimed that Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area would boost the security of the EU.
Kuneva, as cited by the press office of the Bulgarian government, stated that Bulgaria met Schengen criteria and was supposed to be able to take advantage of all of the benefits that Schengen membership provided in terms of security.
Bulgaria’s Deputy Prime Minister made clear that Bulgaria backed measures such as strengthening the EU framework decision on combating terrorism, exchanging information with Europol, adopting the EU Directive on airline passenger data, and preventing illegal arms trafficking through the Western Balkans.
After the discussion on counter-terrorism measures during the General Affairs Council on February 10, EU leaders will exchange views on anti-terrorism efforts during an EU summit on February 12, according to reports of the BGNES news agency.
Kuneva also announced Tuesday that a decision to extend talks on transferring unused EU funding in 2014 had been adopted during Tuesday’s meeting.
The talks are to be wrapped up by May in order for the EU countries to be able to start working on implementing operational programs.
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