Bulgaria is not going to confront Austria and the Netherlands, which are blocking its accession to the Schengen area, preferring soft diplomacy and political pressure on Brussels to overcome the veto of these countries.
This was reported to Euractiv by several informed sources in Sofia.
According to the publication, while Bulgaria has previously threatened to sue Austria in the EU Court of Justice if it is again denied accession to the Schengen area, and has recently blocked Austria's participation in NATO projects, its efforts will now be focused on convincing its partners.
According to the article, the Bulgarian government hopes that if the Netherlands can be convinced that Sofia continues its efforts to implement the rule of law, Austria may back down.
However, sources say this scenario is unlikely if the Dutch Socialists win the parliamentary elections in October. However, if the right-wing around the current Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is convinced that the country's judicial reform is needed, this scenario is possible, Sofia believes.
Asked by Euractiv what diplomatic steps will be taken to persuade Austria to lift its veto on Schengen, Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry said that bilateral cooperation with Austria is based on the conclusions of the two countries' action plan against illegal migration at the level of the interior ministries.
"The Commission and the European agencies are also committed to the implementation of this plan," the Foreign Ministry said in its response.
The leading Bulgarian argument is that if border controls between Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania are abolished, efforts will be focused on controlling the EU's external border with Turkey.
Author - Olena Madiak, 28/09/2023