Bulgaria's Schengen Entry to Depend on July EC Monitoring Report

Bulgaria's Schengen Entry to Depend on July EC Monitoring Report

Bulgaria's accession to Schengen will be tied to the results of EC's July report on the monitoring mechanism in the sphere of justice and home affairs, announced Karel van Kesteren, Dutch Ambassador to Bulgaria.

In an interview for Deustche Welle, van Kesteren made it clear that the Netherlands had not changed its stance on Bulgaria's Schengen bid, continuing to insist on lasting progress in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

"Bulgaria's entry into Schengen presupposes the elimination of corruption and confidence in the judicial system. Otherwise, our decision to back such a move would be risky", the diplomat stated.

The Dutch Ambassador also pointed out that, while the Netherlands were highly appreciative of Bulgaria's technical preparedness for Schengen membership, that alone did not suffice.

The Netherlands, together with Germany, France and other countries, has threatened to block Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen entry until the countries report tangible progress in combating corruption and organized crime.

This stance was echoed by Ben Knapen, Dutch Minister of European Affairs and International Cooperation, who visited Bulgaria earlier in May.

"According to Ben Knapen, technical readiness is of absolutely no importance, provided that, when given a banknote of EUR 100, the operator turns his head aside to let the truck full of illegal immigrants enter Bulgarian territory.", van Kesteren added.

Bulgarian authorities insist that the country join Schengen by end-2011, refusing to accept the involvement of political criteria in the decision. (Source: Sofia News Agency)

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