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Tuesday, 7 June 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Application of Schengen acquis in Bulgaria and Romania (debate)

  Stanimir Ilchev (ALDE).(BG) Mr President, we are concluding during this session our evaluation of Bulgaria’s and Romania’s readiness to join the Schengen area. We will successfully achieve this because Mr Coelho’s report is successful. The overwhelming expectation is that Parliament’s evaluation concurs with the positive position of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and that the citizens of both countries, Bulgaria and Romania, feel that their institutions have done what they need to do and that the light to proceed down ‘Schengen Road’ is already green.

The discussions were lengthy, but the good news is that we did not permit the attempts to make ad hoc changes to the Schengen membership criteria. The difficult times, of course, have not gone away. The governments of both countries need to explain now all the reasons to those who are sceptical and who changed before our very eyes from being former allies supporting Bulgarian and Romanian integration to instigators of the waiting game.

What underlies these reasons? Objective fears or prejudice, situational prudence or disappointment? I hope that the interior and justice ministers will be at least just as frank with each other as we have been during the process of drafting the Coelho report.

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