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Bulgaria to Invite Dutch & Austrian Customs Experts to Confirm Its Readiness for Joining Schengen

The Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Nikolai Denkov has revealed that his country will invite customs experts from the Netherlands and Austria in order to observe operations at the Turkish border as part of efforts to ease concerns that are impeding its bid to acquire membership in 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 considering these two countries as two key skeptics on Bulgaria’s accession to the EU’s visa-free travel, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The meeting will mainly focus on migration, especially at the problems noted at the Turkish-Bulgarian border, which has often been considered as an open door to many illegal affairs.

“We will try to involve as much as possible the partners from Austria and the Netherlands so they can see what is at the border, because it’s not easy there,”Denkov pointed out.

The Bulgarian PM said that he welcomed cooperation between both states that would then be eligible to make technical recommendations on policing the Turkish border.

Denkov stressed that a special unit was being created in his country in cooperation with Europol in order to combat people trafficking.

Among the main concerns is the Kapitan Andreevo border checkpoint at Bulgaria’s border with Turkey which has often been in the spotlight of the media for many unlawful entries into EU for smugglers and people involved in illegal acts.

“We know some of the business people that use Kapitan Andreevo for their illegal business. But from knowing some of these people to blocking everything that is there, is a fight,” he pointed out.

Recently, the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) urged the Council of the European Union to approve Bulgaria and Romania accession to the SchengenArea by the end of this year.

MEPs stressed that the Council should prioritise the further enlargement of the visa-free travel zone by the end of this year, considering that a larger area with no border checks would make the bloc even stronger.

Earlier this month, a report of Euractiv noted that both Bulgaria and Romania may soon be part of the Schengen Zone, after both these Balkan countries will be part of Schengen in two phases, starting from October this year.

The report of Euractiv said that in October 2023 border checks at the airports would be abolished, while starting from January next year ground controls would also be terminated.

In December last year, Austria and the Netherlands didn’t support Bulgaria and Romania to enter Schengen, citing unlawful migration concerns.

Source: Schengen Visa News