Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union for 10 years and 340 days. In 26 days from today, it will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the first time.
Also, Bulgaria is a country which claims to be doing a good job protecting the outer EU border and which would join the Schengen area yesterday, if it was be allowed to.
At the same time, the country’s border police produces many corruption scandals. At the southern border, drivers of trucks and cars are being taken to the cleaners. So, claims and reality are not really compatible. Readiness for Schengen does look different.
For the second time within four months, members of the European Parliament are sounding the alarm. Kati Piri from The Netherlands and Kathleen van Brempt from Belgium just reiterated they had received a significant number of complaints from people who had travelled from Western Europe to Turkey and back, by car, through Bulgarian territory. And they published their report on the matter.
The publication Euractiv quoted the two MEPs saying it was high time the government in Sofia took measures designed to stop the corruption. They said, complaints about incidents of corruption on the Bulgarian side of the Turkish-Bulgarian border had been coming in for years.
It is obvious the approach of corrupt Bulgarian border guards has not changed. According to the complaints received by the MEPs, drivers had to pay bribes in order to avoid time-consuming searches of their vehicles.
On top of that, they had to pay 3 Euro for mandatory “disinfections” of their vehicles. According to the MEPs, the “disinfectant” the travellers were forced to drive through consisted of dirty water. They also said, nothing justified that measure.
The MEPs Piri and van Brempt had talked about complaints of this kind on September 5. This morning, they published their report, which summarises the issue and lists the complaints they received and contains a call for action on the part of Bulgaria.