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Bulgaria Reacts To Schengen Veto

December 15, 2022
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Bulgarian politicians and public figures were left dismayed after the veto. The Bulgarian Government announced countermeasures but so far nothing has been made official.

On December 8th, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council voted “NO” for Bulgaria’s and Romania’s Schengen accession. Even before the vote took place, Bulgaria's Minister of Internal Affairs, Ivan Demerdzhiev, threatened severe countermeasures against The Netherlands and Austria if they interfered. 

Reactions started appearing mostly on social media shortly after the results were announced, but so far, the countermeasures have not been discussed publicly. 

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev said that his country only receives cynicism instead of solidarity from the rest of the EU, despite most of the member states voting “YES” for Bulgaria’s accession. He also addressed the claims of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, who said that Bulgaria’s border could be crossed illegally with only 50 euros. Rumen Radev reminded Mark Rutte through the same Facebook post of the three policemen who had lost their lives recently protecting the border.

Vicepresident Iliana Yotova bashed the decision of the Dutch Government and praised President Radev’s reaction. She stated, “The Netherlands gave the most wonderful Christmas gift to all the eurosceptics, to all the populist parties, and to every individual who doesn’t want Europe to be strong. Their decision shows that double standards are tolerated all over Europe, a flaw that shouldn’t be part of the European Union. It’s pointless even to mention things like solidarity, empathy, mutual help, and mutual respect.”

Ivan Demerdzhiev reacted after the veto and he was furious about Mark Rutte's statements. He said, “Bulgaria’s right to be a member shouldn’t be vetoed just because of the dignity of some Bulgarian policemen. We are not ready to pay such a price.”

“Rutte should be careful because his statements don’t reflect Europe’s views.”

Bulgarian Minister of Justice Krum Zarkov stated that “Rutte’s suggestion is ridiculous. Those Bulgarian policemen didn’t only give their lives to protect us, but them as well. He should be careful because his claims will not be passed over lightly.” Zarkov emphasized that the way in which The Netherlands handled the situation was unacceptable and unjustified from a political point of view. 

Only a very small party, The Bulgarian Ascension called for severe countermeasures against The Netherlands. In a public Facebook post, the party leader, Stefan Yanev,  called for the Bulgarian Prime Minister to boycott every Dutch initiative in the European Parliament. So far, he hasn’t received any official response. 

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