The European Commission (EC) has expressed its readiness to conduct a new fact-finding mission in Bulgaria in order to evaluate Bulgaria’s readiness to become part of the European Union’s borderless area of Schengen.
The decision comes following a request from the Netherlands addressed to the European Commission for an additional fact-finding mission to Bulgaria, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
We confirm that the Netherlands asked for a complementary fact-finding mission to Bulgaria.
The European Commission reiterated that both Bulgaria and Romania have met all the needed conditions for their membership to the Schengen while expressing its support for the accession of these two countries.
Through a statement, the Commission said that it will continue to facilitate the dialogue between the concerned Member States in order to ensure that a decision is taken as soon as possible, taking into account organising a fact-finding mission.
The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU targets a December vote to decide on Bulgaria and Romania’s membership to the Schengen Zone, with the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, stressing that the issue is among the main priorities of his country.
However, last month, the Dutch Migration Minister, Eric van der Burg, stressed that his country would not remove its veto when it comes to the accession of these two Balkan countries to the Schengen Zone.
According to him, the situation has not changed, and he doesn’t see it changing any time soon. He insists on a mission to Sofia before the Netherlands makes a decision in this regard.
First, we want an independent mission to establish the facts. Then we expect a report from the European Commission, in which it is written: They not only adopted the necessary laws related to the rule of law, but they also implement them.
Vienna also stressed that its position on this issue remains unchanged.
Authorities in Bulgaria have intensified efforts to ensure the countries that vetoed the decision for the full application of Schengen acquis that Bulgaria deserves to be part of the Schengen Zone.
On December 8, 2022, Austria opposed the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen, and in the case of Bulgaria, the accession was also opposed by the Netherlands under irregular migration concerns.
In order to convince Vienna that the irregular migration situation in Bulgaria has improved, Sofia welcomed the President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, who visited Bulgaria’s border with Türkey.
Recently, the President of Austria, Alexander Van der Bellen, once again stressed that Austria’s government’s decision to block the membership of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area “was not the right one”, stressing that if the Schengen system does not work why should Vienna bloc the accession of these two countries to the visa-free travel area.