A team of EU experts has arrived in Bulgaria Monday to check if Bulgaria's efforts to meet the criteria of the Schengen Agreement are going as planned.
This is the seventh consecutive visit of Schengen experts in Bulgaria, but is considered crucial because of the awaited decisions on behalf of the European Commission and the EU Council.
Currently, Bulgarian citizens are allowed visa-free entry into the Schengen system and there is eased access to Bulgaria for Schengen visa holders, but the country is not a full member of the system.
Bulgaria submitted its formal declaration of readiness in September 2007 and sent European authorities follow-up reports, penning in March 2011 as the target date for accession to the Schengen zone.
The estimates turned meaningless due to a delay in the award of a tender to produce biometric passports and lack of progress on the second generation of the EU's Schengen Information System, more commonly known as SISII.
On Friday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi declared that Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Agreement will be one of the priorities for Hungary's EU Presidency.