Cause and Effect in European Politics and Law

Tsvetan Tsvetanov: There will be arduous debates on Bulgaria's accession to Schengen

Ralitsa Kovacheva, January 6, 2011

An arduous debate is expected on Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen area, the Minister of the Interior of the country, Tsvetan Tsvetanov commented. He took part in a public discussion on the occasion of the end of the Belgian EU Presidency, organised by the Bulgarian branch of the Pan-European Union. Tsvetanov however emphasized that any link between the country's accession to Schengen with European Commission's CVM in the area of justice and home affairs, was removed, quoting the position of the European Commission. In this regard, maybe a positive indication would be EU Commissioner on Internal Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom's visit in Sofia in February.

euinside asked the Deputy Prime Minister why he thought that this link had been removed since the member states (the Council of the EU would take the political decision on Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen area) insist the monitoring report's result which will be presented this summer, to be taken into account when assessing Bulgaria's preparedness to join Schengen. Mr Tsvetanov said that severe debates are to be held but added that we had perceived his words literally. He again stressed that technically Bulgaria would be ready to join by March 2011 but admitted that it was the Council of the EU that would have to take the final decision.

He also said that the latest check was good and raised no alarm. Every enlargement of Schengen causes an internal debate in the EU, he added that there were internal problems in some member states like France with the Roma and the Netherlands with its coalition agreement, in which it is explicitly stated that Bulgaria's and Romania's accession to Schengen should be bound to the CVM. But Mr Tsvetanov hoped that Bulgaria would manage to overcome all the problems and would be a successful member of Schengen, although he stressed that Bulgaria would be technically prepared, whatever that meant.

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