Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov conferred with EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Sofia on Thursday evening, Purvanov's Press Secretariat said.
At the meeting, the President familiarized the Commissioner with the efforts that Bulgaria is making to meet the required criteria for accession to Schengen and the Bulgarian Government's ambition to implement the measures set in the National Schengen Action Plan by mid-March 2011.
Purvanov told Malmstrom that her visit comes at a time when all Bulgarian institutions are under a supreme strain to meet accession criteria. The head of State reaffirmed the principled position that this country should be judged on the implementation of the Schengen criteria in the same way as this was done in respect of the nine countries which joined the area in 2007 and that this evaluation should not be bound to the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.
The President expressed the hope that the meetings which the Commissioner will have in Bulgaria will contribute to an informed decision by each one of the EU Member States. Purvanov briefed Malmstrom on the issues related to Schengen membership that will be discussed at a meeting of the Consultative Council on National Security due to take place shortly.
The guest acknowledged the efforts made by Bulgaria to acheieve Schengen accession and expressed her expectation that the currently existing issues will be sorted out in a constructive dialogue and that the European partners will build their political confidence in Bulgaria.
The sides agreed that a decision on Bulgaria's membership of the Schengen area should be adopted before the end of the Hungarian Presidency of the EU. sourse BTA