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Bavaria slashes Bulgaria's hopes for Schengen accession

Staff Writer |
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann took position against the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen zone, the Bulgarian National Radio BNR reported.

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This is the position of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian partner of the ruling German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

According to the Bavarian minister, Schengen enlargement cannot take place at the expense of the security of German citizens.

"In the long run, the membership of Bulgaria and Romania in Schengen is not only desirable but also mandatory, but currently Bulgaria’s accession is out of the question," Hermann said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

The minister sees the danger in "growing corruption and major problems with organised crime in Romania and Bulgaria".

Herman believes that these issues call into question border security: "We cannot explain to our citizens that we are restoring the border with Austria in order to fight the refugee crisis and at the same time we are opening the borders with Bulgaria and Romania.

"Moreover, Bulgaria is also an external border of the EU. Steps back in the security field, in times of growing terrorist threat, are absolutely unacceptable".

The Welt am Sonntag cites a study according to which the majority of Germans believe that the EU’s external citizens are under-protected. Especially skeptical are the Social Democrats.

Two weeks ago during her visit to Sofia, Merkel did not give a concrete answer when Bulgaria will enter Schengen – she described the process as "step by step."

Bulgaria will seek support for Schengen from the Netherlands on the upcoming visit of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Sofia, it became clear then. The Netherlands is the fiercest adversary to accept Bulgaria because corruption and the ineffective judiciary.

Borissov took the floor on the issue speaking at the annual business meeting with the government:

"I want the German society to know that Bulgaria is very committed to what it has promised. The Dutch television was 4-5 days on the border to shoot and see that the refugee wave on our border is zero and I hope the Dutch Minister will see it and that he will appreciate this.

"And if colleagues from other countries do their job as we do, this is not going to be a topic at all in Germany."

"We are actually in Schengen. We keep the Schengen border the best of all. All have said that Bulgaria is absolutely ready for Schengen. There is a country that, for its own preservation, does not want to accept us.

"If we become a Schengen member and if the agreement with Turkey is broken, 500,000 come into Bulgaria, they will drown us, but up to the Netherlands, for example, there will be nothing to stop them. This is the fear, and not that we’re not ready," Borissov said.

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