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Bulgaria Unlikely to Join Schengen Zone in 2023 Due to Dutch Caretaker Cabinet

With a caretaker government until the end of this year in the Netherlands, the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen zone is unlikely to be finalised shortly.

Such conclusions have been reached in a recent report of Politico, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The same notes that in September this year, the Dutch parliament was required to create a list of “controversial cases” that cannot be resolved by a caretaker government. However, at present is still unclear whether the further expansion of the borderless area of Schengen will be included on this list.

Bulgaria’s membership to the EU’s visa-free travel zone was opposed by the Netherlands and Austria in December last year following unlawful migration concerns.

However, recently, the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, told the European Parliament that the European Commission, together with the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, had intensified their efforts so the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area can be finished by the end of this year.

Sinkevicius reiterated the European Commission’s comments that since 2011, Bulgaria and Romania met all the requirements for becoming part of the Schengen Zone.

He considered that border controls between Romania and Bulgaria, on the one hand, as well as the Schengen Zone, on the other hand, cause unnecessary encumbrances, emphasising that completing approving both countries’ accession to the Schengen Zone is a matter of urgency.

In July this year, the cabinet of Bulgaria said that it adopted a governance program prioritising the Balkan country’s accession to the Schengen Zone by the end of this year and the accession to the eurozone by January 1, 2025.

In addition, the program adopted by the government of Bulgaria also consists of other priorities for this country for a period from June 2023 until December 2024.

However, the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen Zone continues to be unsupported by authorities in Austria. Last month, the Federal Chancellery in Vienna said that Austria continues to maintain its veto regarding this issue, emphasising that it is not a matter of party politics but a security policy.

On July 12, the European Union’s Parliament introduced a new resolution, which, among others, noted that both Bulgaria and Romania had met all the needed requirements to become part of the Schengen Zone. The resolution was supported by a total of 526 MEPs, while 57 opposed it.

Source : Schengenvisainfo