Bulgaria’s government said on October 19 that it would not support the European Union’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada unless Ottawa gives “irreversible guarantees” of the elimination of visas for all Bulgarian citizens.
This was stated by the government after adopting its positions ahead of the October 20 and 21 meeting of the European Council.
Bulgaria’s Cabinet said that only such an approach would allow Bulgaria to benefit equally from the agreements reached and for Bulgarian businesses to be competitive with those of other EU member countries and from Canada.
In Parliament in Sofia on October 19, MPs rejected a motion tabled by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party calling on the government to prepare and submit to the National Assembly an impact assessment of the signing of CETA.
Gemma Grozdanova, head of Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said that negotiations on the terms of CETA had ended in September 2014.
CETA is scheduled for signing on October 27. However, both Bulgaria and Romania are insisting on making approval conditional on the lifting of visa requirements for their citizens, and have persistently threatened to veto the agreement unless this happens.