Bulgaria entered Schengen by air and sea

Schengen is the biggest success since our admission to the EU, because we were able to unite and restore the trust of the EU. Schengen is a confidence that Bulgaria has confidently set out on the European path. This was stated by the resigned Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, BGNES reported.


Today, Bulgaria officially entered the Schengen area by air and sea.


Schengen is not a fence, added Denkov. The role of the government is key, because without the changes in the laws and the Constitution, this would not have happened, emphasized Denkov.


There are concrete plans so that Bulgaria will be admitted to the land-based Schengen from January 1, 2025. We can enter if we are united, otherwise we can miss the historic window, which may not open soon, Denkov also said.


"Schengen is a great victory for Bulgaria and it would not have happened without the joint efforts of the ministers in the government. Teamwork was very important. When people are seen to be working together and have common goals, that's how trust is born. As I said, Schengen is above all trust," said Academician Denkov.


He emphasized the role of the parliament and the laws adopted by it in 2023. According to him, this gave Bulgaria the opportunity to enter Schengen.


Academician Denkov stated that we have gone more than half way to full-fledged Schengen. "Anyone who knows the mechanisms well knows that after the first step, the second step must also take place. "We are looking for a politically opportune moment after the European elections, maybe after the Austrian elections, when a decision will be made," the resigned prime minister said. He specified that this decision will depend on two things: how the political situation develops in our country and that power in Austria and other European countries is not taken by far-right and anti-European parties. "There are all indications that this will not happen," added Academician Denkov.


For his part, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in resignation, Maria Gabriel, stated that we are all witnessing a moment that is unique and historic. This day is unique because it tells us that today Bulgaria is not just an observer, but will shape the Schengen area with its experience. Schengen is a cooperation between member states and teams. Schengen is one of the achievements of this historic project, Gabriel added.


This day is also unique because it tells us that today Bulgaria is not just an observer, but is around the table for the debates on a strengthened and strong Schengen area, Bulgaria sets the direction and is a good example. Bulgaria, with its experience, will shape the future of the Schengen area," said the former foreign minister.


She emphasized that the moment is also historic because we are showing what "security through cooperation" means. "Collaboration between Member States and cooperation between teams," Gabriel added and thanked the European Commission and all the Member States who supported us.

"Schengen is one of the achievements of the European project and today is a historic moment because Bulgaria is becoming part of it. Bulgaria becomes a member of a community of millions of people who travel freely. These are benefits for business, tourism, culture," said Gabriel.


A historic date for Bulgaria, the outgoing Interior Minister Kalin Stoyanov also emphasized.


Let's not forget that just a few months ago our country was totally blocked from any negotiations for possible accession to the Schengen area. I am proud that under my leadership the Ministry of Internal Affairs managed to achieve the results necessary for us to become a member of Schengen, said Minister Kalin Stoyanov.


He commented that the extremely high assessment of the experts from 14 countries, which we received during the Schengen inspection carried out at the end of last year, opened the way for negotiations and contributed the most to being here today.


Minister Kalin Stoyanov especially thanked all the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who are at this moment at the border and guarding both our and the external border for the EU. They made the biggest contribution to Bulgaria being accepted into the Schengen area, they put in tireless work and professionalism. Minister Kalin Stoyanov assured that the efforts in this direction continue in the way it has been done so far. We have shown and continue to show illegal migrants that they should not take the road to Europe through Bulgaria, as it will be difficult for them to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border. He expressed hope that with the results that have been achieved so far, the land borders will be abolished by the end of the year. We are ready for that, Stoyanov emphasized.


On the subject of the caretaker government, Nikolay Denkov stated that he hopes it will continue efforts for our full membership in the Schengen area. "I barely know Dimitar Glavchev. He has the authority of a serious and objective person. The only thing that surprised me was the attempts to say it had nothing to do with GERD. I count on the fact that he has authority and will form a cabinet that does not raise doubts about fair elections," said Academician Denkov, stressing that fair elections cannot be held with people you do not trust or who have lost trust.


Academician Denkov stated that if Kalin Stoyanov remains interior minister, it will cast a serious shadow on the fairness of the elections. “I have reasons for saying so. I worked with him. I have always had good words for the work he has done on Schengen. I want to emphasize that, besides him, there are other people who did a good job - Deputy Minister Dundakova was a contact person with the Western partners for Schengen. Another person who played a key role was Krum Gharkov," said the prime minister in resignation.


Academician Denkov's lack of trust in Kalin Stoyanov is related to the fact that he did nothing in the fight against vote buying during the local elections. "Here is an indicator that is objective. Minister Stoyanov and the Minister of e-Government lost my trust because of the holding of the local elections", the prime minister explained in resignation and added: "We expect these two ministers not to remain in the caretaker government. If they remain, it is a decision of the future prime minister, that will casts a shadow over the integrity of elections"


To a question from BGNES about the fact that the lack of a regular government leads to the postponement or failure of a number of important meetings, including with the German interior minister, who was supposed to visit us in mid-April, and whether this is not an important indicator that our path to full-fledged Schengen will not be easy, Denkov stated: "We must unite again. I will do everything I can to help the next Prime Minister to move the country forward as quickly as possible on the path of reform, to continue changing those laws that are necessary, such as the Judiciary Act. We do not have a functioning anti-corruption body. We need to get back on the track of reforms if we want to have trust in Bulgaria and other heads of state and government to come here". /BGNES