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MEP Novakov: Date for Bulgaria’s Schengen Accession by Land to Be Set in 2025

The date for Bulgaria’s Schengen accession by land is expected to be set in 2025, MEP Andrey Novakov told the Bulgarian News Agency on Wednesday. He visited Bucharest for the congress of the European People’s Party. Novakov expects that Austria will not soften its stance on full Schengen membership for Bulgaria and Romania until after the country’s elections. “It is obvious that most participants in these upcoming parliamentary elections in Austria believe that anti-Bulgarian and anti-Romanian talk will help them. My prediction is that it will not,” he said.
According to him, the creation of a so-called “Balkan Schengen” with the abolition of border controls between Bulgaria, Romania and Greece is out of the question. “This would mean that Greece would start violating a treaty it has signed with more than 17 other members of the Schengen area, with all the countries that have agreed to drop common borders in the EU”, the MEP underlined.
He believes that the idea for splitting up Bulgaria and Romania on their way to full Schengen entry, works for the opponents of the two countries’ accession. “We are much stronger when we are together, because it is more complicated to be in opposition and veto two countries. Two countries that together have a population of more than 30 million and are a key factor, especially on the Eastern flank of the EU and NATO,” Novakov noted.
Novakov dwelled on his idea for “a defence Schengen”. “I believe that the war, which is ever closer to Europe, is a strong enough motivator to ensure that when it is necessary the free movement of both military equipment and military units happens much more quickly, with much more relaxed procedures, rather than having to take days to move when the dynamics of warfare require much quicker decisions. Moreover, there is also currently BGN 1.7 billion from the European Action Plan on Military Mobility. This means that infrastructure can be used for dual purposes. For example, in peacetime [it can be used] for the free movement of people and goods, but also, if necessary, to move equipment. At the moment, there are roads, bridges and tunnels that do not allow the movement of military equipment when it is needed. So the idea is to use European money to widen these roads, to strengthen the bridges, to widen the tunnels, so that if, God forbid, military equipment ever needs to go through them, it can go through without destroying them,” he said.
According to him, the European structures will be forced to support such an idea: “I have not heard anyone expressing themselves against it. On the contrary, every second speech in the congress right now is about defence and security […] So more and more Europe is moving towards that. Whether we like it or not.”
Novakov expects the farmers’ protests in Europe to affect the European elections: not the smooth running, but the voteрс. “Their vote will certainly not be in favour of green policies, of the green deal, the one that pushed Europe quite far to the left, that turned its back on many of the traditional values of the EU when we had to explain to European industry, which is the backbone of our economy, that we would stop producing petrol and diesel cars from 2035 without being ready for an alternative. The one that taxed emissions from cars, from petrol, from diesel and from ships, which raised the price of shipments. Now, amid the protests, we have passed a nature restoration law which, behind the wonderful name it has, creates more red tape, more obligations for the farmers who work the land. It’s normal that these are the reactions out there,” the Bulgarian MEP argued.