Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov revealed that his country would invite customs experts from the Netherlands and Austria to observe operations on the Turkish border, as part of efforts to ease concerns hampering its attempted acquisition. belonging to the Schengen zone.
Denkov also told Politico that he would hold meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as well as Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer to address their concerns, while viewing those two countries as two main skeptics of EU membership. Bulgaria to EU visa-free travel. SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The meeting will mainly focus on migration, particularly on the problems observed on the Turkish-Bulgarian border, which has often been seen as an open door to many illegal businesses.
“We will try to involve the Austrian and Dutch partners as much as possible so that they can see what is at the border, because it is not easy there. » » remarked Denkov.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister said he welcomed cooperation between the two states, which could then make technical recommendations on maintaining order on the Turkish border.
Denkov stressed that a special unit was being created in his country in cooperation with Europol to combat human trafficking.
Among the main concerns is the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint on the border between Bulgaria and Turkey, which has often been in the media spotlight due to numerous illegal entries into the EU by smugglers and people involved in illegal acts.
“We know some businessmen who use Kapitan Andreevo for their illegal activities. But between knowing some of these people and blocking everything that’s there, it’s a struggle,” he pointed out.
Recently, MEPs (MEP) urged the Council of the European Union to approve the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area Area by the end of this year.
MEPs stressed that the Council should prioritize expanding the visa-free travel zone by the end of this year, saying a larger area without border controls would make the bloc even stronger.
Earlier this month, a report from Euractiv noted that both Bulgaria and Romania could soon be part of the Schengen zone, these two Balkan countries will then be part of Schengen in two phases, starting in October this year.
The Euractiv report said that in October 2023, border checks at airports would be removed, while from January next year, ground checks would also be removed.
In December last year, Austria and the Netherlands did not support Bulgaria and Romania’s entry into the Schengen area, citing illegal immigration concerns.