The Austrian Interior Ministry denies taking part in a foreign mission with representatives from the Netherlands in September this year to assess whether Bulgaria met all the conditions to enter the EU’s Schengen zone.
“There will be no joint foreign mission, it’s fictitious. The fact is that nothing has changed in Austria’s clear position. As long as the “Schengen” system does not work, there is no point in extending it,» declared the Ministry of the Interior SchengenVisaInfo.com.
The reaction comes after Bulgarian media reported that an assessment would take place in the country next month, following a meeting between Bulgarian Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov, European Interior Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, and the Minister of the Interior. Migration from the Netherlands, Eric Can der Burgh.
Although the Commission claims that Bulgaria has fulfilled all the necessary conditions to become the new member of the borderless Schengen area, Austria and the Netherlands opposed membership in December last year from this country to the Schengen area, citing migrant concerns.
The Bulgarian Minister of Interior also informed about the measures taken by Bulgaria in accordance with the recommendation of the European Commission in its report on the rule of law.
According to him, the most important thing is that Bulgaria receives the consent of the Netherlands.
At the same time, the Dutch Minister of Migration said that although the country’s government is a caretaker government, it is expected to have the mandate to work on issues on the European agenda, taking into account the subject of Schengen.
Minister van der Burgh expressed the desire to carry out a mission to Bulgaria, which is also the wish of the Balkan country, while coordination will be carried out by the European Commission.
A recent Politico report indicated that with a caretaker government in the Netherlands, Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area is unlikely to be finalized anytime soon.
Last month, the Bulgarian government said it had adopted a governance program that puts the country’s interests first. membership of the Schengen area by the end of this year and membership of the Eurozone by January 1, 2025.
In July this year, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, told the European Parliament that the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency had stepped up their work to Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen zone could be finalized by the end of this year.
Furthermore, last month the European Union Parliament adopted a new resolution calling on the Council of the European Union to treat this issue seriously and allow both countries to become part of the Schengen zone by the end of this year.
Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen area is still not finalized, despite comments from the European Commission that the country has met all the required conditions since 2011.
Note: This article was originally published on August 16 and claims that “the Netherlands and Austria would jointly assess Bulgaria’s Schengen readiness in September.” After an exchange of emails with the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, we have updated the article because the ministry has confirmed that no assessment will take place in September in Bulgaria on its side.