Bulgaria has not given up trying to be a Schengen member, but is pushing for more European support, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on September 12.
His statement came nine days after he raised eyebrows by telling a conference in Berlin that he was unsure whether it was worth Bulgaria joining the Schengen visa zone.
In the German capital on September 3, Borissov cited the return of border controls between Austria and Germany, and the increase in migrants attempting to cross illegally into Bulgaria from Greece, as reasons to question whether it was worth being in Schengen.
“Every day our country returns to Greece about 150 migrants. They would have stayed here if Bulgaria were part of Schengen,” Bulgarian National Television quoted Borissov as saying at the time.
On September 12, Borissov said that Bulgaria complies with all technical and legal requirements and that it perfectly protects Europe’s external borders.
He said that Bulgaria is perfectly protecting the EU’s external border with Turkey and migration pressure is zero. However, there is a problem with the Greek border, where pressures of about 150 people per day are reported.
He said that in Berlin, he had taken an ironic approach in his comments on Schengen.
“I told them, I’m tired of you talking to me about support, we have been in Schengen for a long time. You have a problem with Schengen because there is a border between Austria and Germany. The only benefit for Bulgarian citizens is that if we are in Schengen, when they cross a border, they will not show their ID cards,” Borissov said.