EU Presidency – Romania ready, Bulgaria almost ready for Schengen

Budapest, February 24 (MTI) – Romania has met all criteria for joining the Schengen visa-free zone while Bulgaria is behind in one area, the Hungarian EU presidency said in Brussels on Thursday.

The EU interior ministers, chaired by Sandor Pinter of Hungary, surveyed the two countries’ progress in meeting the Schengen rules.

    ”Romania has finalised the technical preparations required for all evaluated areas of the Schengen acquis,” the Hungarian EU presidency statement said.

    Bulgaria has to date closed all but one chapter, with a “re-evaluation of the external land borders scheduled for the fourth week of March,” the presidency said. Bulgaria is strongly committed to completing preparations as soon as possible, it added.

    Pinter said that the evaluation mission delegated to Bulgaria had been dissatisfied with protection of the land border with Turkey. The Bulgarian interior minister, however, has promised to fix everything by the middle of March, he said.

    Romania and Bulgaria are unable to separately join the Schengen zone as the their common border is unsuitable to become the external border of the Schengen area, the Hungarian minister said.