Bulgaria Absorbed 100% of Schengen Funds

Bulgaria Absorbed 100% of Schengen Funds

Bulgaria has absorbed BGN 252 M of the funds made available by the European Commission for its potential Schengen accession, the country's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said on Sunday.

A total of 74 public tenders have been organized in relation to Bulgaria covering the Schengen Agreement's technical criteria, the Interior Minister revealed.

"Bulgaria will be completely ready for its Schengen entry by March 14. However, nobody can say when the political decision will be taken," Tsvetanov stated. He spoke at a press conference dedicated to the Open Society Institute's report, published earlier on Sunday.

The report says that, as of January 31 2011, 117 of the total of 159 measures have been taken, 15 are supposed to be implemented by March 31 and 27 have not been taken in time. However, effective measures have taken in January on dealing with the delay, the report says.

Bulgaria hoped to join the EU's border-free zone in March, but Germany, France, The Netherlands, Austria, Finland and - most recently - Norway have also spoken reluctantly on Bulgaria's potential soon Schengen entry.

Hungary, which currently holds the EU presidency, may decide to put this issue on the agenda of the Council of Interior Ministers of the EU, due on February 24, but the decision will most probably be negative.

However, speaking in Brussels on Friday, Bulgarian PM Borisov also claimed Bulgaria was already totally fit to join Schengen, Sofia News Agency wrote.

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