German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov on Saturday, January 20 in Sofia, where they discussed the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union as well as topical issues from the political agenda.
During a press conference after the meeting, Chancellor Merkel expressed her belief in front of journalists that the currently presiding over the EU country, would soon partially join the border-free area.
“We have been discussing for a long time the question of Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen. We see what efforts Bulgaria is making and supporting,” she said, not giving any specific date for country’s accession to Schengen.
In addition, the German Chancellor said that the introduction of the rules of the Schengen Area in Bulgaria would start gradually, first at the airports, and then the sea. According to her, this matter will soon be included once again on the agenda. On the other hand, Prime Minister Borissov said that there was no problem for Bulgaria to enter the Schengen Zone whether it be by air of water.
During the press conference he mentioned that some time ago, countries like Finland and the Netherlands were loud against the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Zone, adding that the Dutch Prime Minister would be visiting Bulgaria on February 6, so he and his experts would have the opportunity to go and check along the borders how Bulgaria is guarding and protecting them.
Merkel also thanked and praised Bulgaria for the way it protects the EU external border, which she described as an onerous task. “This task is terribly difficult, especially at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Germany supports Bulgaria, Frontex supports Bulgaria with words and actions, but the hard work has to be carried out here,” she said.
She also welcomed the initiative of Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov to meet with the President of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan and to talk openly about all issues.
Chancellor Merkel’s meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister comes just one day after her meeting with the President of France Emmanuel Macron, and a week after the meeting with her Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz.