PM: Bulgaria's Schengen Entry to Ease EU Refugee Pressure

PM: Bulgaria's Schengen Entry to Ease EU Refugee Pressure

Bulgaria's prime minister, who is struggling to ensure swift entry into the EU border-free Schengen area, has said the country's accession will benefit the whole European block.

"The Bulgarian government is seeking entry into the Schengen zone not only because of the welfare of the Bulgarian citizens, but also in a bid to help the European Union cope with the mighty wave of refugees," Boyko Borisov said at a joint press conference with French Interior Minister Claude Gueant in Sofia. He expressed the hope that planned changes in Bulgaria's legislation and in the fight against crime and corruption would have an impact on the decision about the country's Schengen entry.

Claude Gueant paid a few hour-visit to the Bulgarian capital on Monday at the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart Tsvetan Tsvetanov, who wanted to convince his French colleague that the Balkan country meets all technical criteria for joining the border-less zone. French Interior Minister Claude Gueant praised the country's efforts to join Schengen, describing as "incredible" its achievements, but said there are many ssues that need to be resolved.

Bulgaria and Romania have already met the technical criteria for joining Europe's border-free zone, but they are supposed to overcome the political objections to their Schengen accession on behalf of several EU member states which have demanded greater results from Bulgaria in fighting crime and corruption - even though those requirements are not technically part of the Schengen process.

Last Thursday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle reiterated that Bulgaria and Romania are not ready to join Europe's border-free zone at this moment. /Source: Sofia News Agency/

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