The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Nikolay Milkov, has said that his country could meet the requirements set by the Netherlands on corruption and judicial reform by October of this year.
The Netherlands required Bulgaria to meet requirements on corruption as well as judicial reform last year to lift their Schengen veto, and according to Minister Milkov, they will be able to do so by October 2023.
This means that Bulgaria expects to join the Schengen Area and be part of the borderless zone by the end of 2024, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“When I say October, it is not a target date because it is not just up to us, but it is a deadline by which we could possibly cover the requirements so that we can be part of Schengen,” the statement of Minister Milkov reads.
Apart from expressing his confidence that the country will be able to meet all the requirements by October, Minister Milkov further stressed that Bulgaria would continue working together with the Netherlands to identify and address any future problems, Euractiv explains.
“We must work together to identify everything that the Netherlands expects to see in a future report regarding the rule of law in Bulgaria,” Minister Milkov stated.
In addition to the above-mentioned, Minister Milkov said that Bulgaria wants to join the Schengen together with Romania. He said that the goal is to begin this new chapter at the same time together, as the two countries have common interests.
Previously, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that just like Bulgaria, Romania also expects to join Schengen by the end of this year.
The Romanian authorities said that they anticipate their Schengen entry bid to be endorsed this year as the country has an important role in protecting the borders of the Area.
Emphasising the contribution that both Romania and Bulgaria have made in preventing irregular migration to the bloc, the Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, said that he hopes the two countries will be permitted to join the Area.
Moreover, Iohannis stressed that the two countries are doing everything they can to guard the borders.
Romania and Bulgaria were kept out of the Schengen Area last year as Austria was against the enlargement of the Area over irregular migration concerns. The stance of Austria was not welcomed by the authorities of the two countries, which said that “illegal migration is only artificially mixed into the Schengen issue.”
>> Romania & Bulgaria’s Admission to Schengen Area Depends on Austria & Netherlands, Swedish Representative Says