Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs in Sofia’s caretaker government Nikolay Milkov said that his country’s goal for accession to the Schengen area is October 1, 2023. He made the comment during a joint press conference with visiting Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó.
“Bulgaria will work to augment the resources and improve activities for addressing the problem of illegal migration,” Milkov added, while admitting that he has not discussed the date with his European counterparts. He did say that Bulgaria will work with the Netherlands, one of the country’s with the most reservations about Bulgarian joinging Schengen, and the European Commission to obtain a Schengen assessment report in June or early July. “The idea is that the report should present all results, so that no one will have a reason to say that the report is incomplete or does not meet expectations completely,” Milkov explained.
Earlier in the day, acting Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev also stated that Sofia will join Schengen “at the beginning of the second half of this year.”
The Hungarian Foreign Minister expressed his support for Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen, while criticizing the European Union for not halting migration and supporting the maintenance of border walls: “Being at the EU's external borders, we in Hungary and Bulgaria know that for the sake of our own security and the security of Europe, migration should be halted, not managed. It is very dangerous for the EU's future that Brussels does not support real protection of the border. It does not support the maintenance of border fences.” Szijjártó added that “Schengen members are doing less than Bulgaria to protect the external borders. Therefore, we believe Bulgaria should become a member of the Schengen area as soon as possible.”