Juncker on BNT: ‘Bulgaria can not be limited to the problem of corruption’

Written by on January 6, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Juncker on BNT: ‘Bulgaria can not be limited to the problem of corruption’

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker believes Bulgaria is well prepared for its turn at the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The Bulgarians sometimes lacked self-confidence for vague reasons, he  said in an interview with Bulgarian National Television (BNT). But they were a great people, and doing a lot for Europe.

“I am confident that this Presidency will be successful. This is important for the country as well. Over the next six months, Sofia will be the capital of the European Union. They will talk about Bulgaria everywhere. The Bulgarians deserve recognition for their success.”

Regarding the negative image of Bulgaria in Europe, Juncker expressed his view, according to which the country “can not be limited to the problem of corruption. Bulgaria can show much more, above all, positive things. I am convinced that the government will do everything in its power to tackle corruption. Some things have already been done. Yes, the law is now somewhat stagnant, but it will be overcome.”

He said that he was glad that both the Bulgarian government and the people were pro-European. He welcomed the Western Balkans Summit organised by Bulgaria, which will take place in Sofia in May 2018: “Bulgaria naturally builds bridges for the Western Balkans, which need a European perspective.”

Regarding a timeline for any EU accessions of Western Balkan states, Juncker said they would “not be able to join until the end of the mandate of this Commission, that is, by 2019, simply because the conditions are not met.” He indicated the next EU enlargement could take place before 2025, “if all conditions are met.”

On the highly recurrent subject of Schengen, Juncker said he was “firmly convinced that Bulgaria and Romania must gain access to the Schengen area. Mostly Bulgaria, which has fulfilled all the technical conditions and this is a huge job.”

Asked when Bulgaria might enter the euro zone, Juncker said: “Right now I can not name a day, hour and year. Bulgaria, however, shows very positive results, both in terms of budget deficit and public debt. The level of debt is below 30 per cent, which can not be said about everyone in the euro zone.”





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