Bulgaria nearly ready for Schengen, Romania fully prepared, say senior officials

Budapest, February 11 (MTI) – Bulgaria will fulfill technical criteria for accession to the Schengen zone by the end of March, whereas Romania hopes to join the visa-free area during Hungary’s six-month EU presidency, senior officials of the two countries’ parliaments told a conference in Budapest on Friday.

Bulgarian expects to be technically ready by late March to protect the EU’s external borders and its citizens, Monika Panajotova, head of Bulgarian parliament’s committee for European affairs, told a meeting of EU parliamentary committees (COSAC).

    Panajotova, mentioning expert cooperation in installing the visa processing system, said Hungary had been very helpful during the preparatory process.

    In response to French and German reservations about her country’s readiness for the Schengen accession she invited officials to view the Bulgarian system in action.

    Romanian Senate lawmaker Marian-Iulian Rasaliu said his country had already “done its homework”, and this was backed up by an independent evaluation. Romania hopes to join the Schengen zone this year and hopes for a final decision to be made during Hungary’s EU Presidency in the first half of the year, he said.

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