Following Mark Rutte’s obstruction of Bulgaria’s entry into the region, President Rumen Radev expressed his opinions on the country’s membership in Schengen.
Radev said, “The topic of Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen still seems conceptual to many people, but it is of utmost importance to the development of the country, the rise of our economy, the standard and quality of life in Bulgaria, to our dignity as European citizens”.
“Bulgaria has always been an integral and extremely important part of Europe’s cultural and historical development, and it is high time we took our supposed dignified equal place in the European family”.
President Radev noted that Bulgaria’s entry into Schengen means immediately eliminating the huge queues and hours-long waits at the country’s borders with Greece and Romania.
Radev mentioned that the manufacturers have much faster access to their markets and much fewer losses to the transport industry, which produces a large share of GDP and a positive impact on tourism. It also means increased confidence in Bulgaria and a greater inflow of foreign investment, as it is in the rest of the EU.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated on December 3 that the country had not fully complied with the requirements for entry into the Schengen area. Opposing his statement, Radev stressed that Bulgaria has already fulfilled all the technical criteria for Schengen membership.
“Therefore, at today’s European Council, I expect the leaders of all Member States, as well as both countries, who still have some claims, to engage with clear deadlines and very precise criteria for Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen and by and late October 2023 let this be a fact,” said the head of the state.
He emphasized that Schengen membership depends immensely on whether the Bulgarian Parliament will pass two important laws as early as next January related to the responsibility of the Attorney General and the fight against corruption.