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Bulgaria's Outgoing Interior Minister Explains Schengen Postponement with Political Situation
Date: 07/03/2013

Outgoing Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has suggested that the current political situation in the Bulgaria increased negative attitudes towards the country's accession to Schengen.

Bulgaria's center-right GERB government resigned on February 20 amid mass nationwide protests over high electricity and heating prices and low incomes.

Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has set May 12 as the date for early elections.

Speaking after a Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Tsvetanov, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), argued that "there is no way that the European partners could remain unaffected by the situation in the country."

He noted that a number of Foreign Ministers had inquired what policy Bulgaria would pursue in the sphere of security and whether the approach on anti-corruption measures would be maintained.

Tsvetanov made clear that some of his counterparts had shown willingness to back the policy of the outgoing GERB government during the forthcoming election campaign.

The outgoing Interior Minister suggested that another major reason obstructing Bulgaria's accession to Schengen was the so-called welfare tourism and the influx of Roma from Bulgaria and Romania into Western countries.

He specified that expert-level meetings and consultations would be held over the next few days to agree on measures to counteract the phenomenon.

Tsvetanov claimed that the home affairs of the different EU countries, the European Parliament elections, and the increased migration pressure from third countries had pushed the topic of Schengen expansion off the agenda.

Bulgaria's outgoing Interior Minister agreed that the earliest possible date for Bulgaria's Schengen accession was the spring of 2014.

Topic: Politics

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