France Stands Alone against Bulgaria's Schengen Entry - Bulgarian Interior Head

France Stands Alone against Bulgaria's Schengen Entry - Bulgarian Interior Head

Germany has altered its position on Bulgaria and Romania's Schengen Accession and now only France is left demanding its postponement, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has stated.

"Germany's position now is quite different from the one stated in the French-German letter from December 2010," Tsvetanov has said, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio. He participated in a meeting of EU's Interior Ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

France and Germany, joined later by Finland and the Netherlands, have repeatedly voiced their staunch opposition to a March 2011 Romania and Bulgarian entry in the Schengen Area, saying the Balkan countries still experience sufficient problems with justice and law enforcement that could render Schengen entry impracticable for the time being.

According to Tsvetanov, Finland and the Netherlands are more inclined to follow Germany's current position than France's. He pointed out that France does not have any specific arguments towards Bulgaria's Schengen entry anytime soon, except wanting to tie it with the Verification and Cooperation Mechanism.

Bulgaria's prime minister Boyko Borisov, who is struggling to ensure swift entry into Schengen area, has said the country will be totally fit for accession at the end of March.

However, EU's presidency confirmed Thursday that Romania is ready to join Schengen, but it cannot, since Bulgaria is not quite ready yet.

"Romania has finalized the technical preparations required for all evaluated areas of the Schengen acquis. Bulgaria, on the other hand, was said to have 'closed all but one' of the necessary criteria" Hungary, which holds the EU's current rotating presidency, said in a statement published after the meeting.

As Sofia and Bucharest are highly unlikely to be decoupled for their Schengen accession, this basically leaves both countries hoping to be admitted in October. /Source Sofia News Agency/

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