Bulgaria's interior minister will make yet another effort to convince Brussels into separating the country's Schengen accession from the European Commission's continued monitoring of its justice reform and anti-corruption combat.
Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov is paying a one-day official visit to Brussels today where he will confer with Joseph Daul, chairman of the European People's Party Group in the European Parliament, as well as MEPs from France and the Netherlands.
At the end of last month the authorities in the two countries dealt a blow to Bulgaria and Romania Schengen aspirations by tying the date for accession with the so-called Co-operation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), through which Brussels monitors the progress the two countries are making in justice and home affairs.
When the two countries joined the EU, in 2007, persistent corruption and insufficient reforms of their jutice systems determined the set-up of an unprecedented monitoring mechanism, which so far led to the freezing of some EUR 500 M in Bulgaria due to fraud associated with EU funds.
Bulgaria's government has repeatedly said it is working hard to cover the Schengen Agreement criteria and join the zone March 2011.