Corruption, migration and geopolitics hinder Bulgaria for Schengen
Two main issues have been in the center of discussion - the serious tension surrounding the migrant flow through Bulgaria and the country's future in Schengen.
Tihomir Bezlov, senior analyst for the Security Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy, explained that the problem of migration through the Balkans is something that has existed for 20 years. The indications for strengthening the flow are clear as early as in 2020, he added. The restriction of migrant flows through Spain and Italy quite naturally directed the wave across the Balkan Peninsula. He stated that the other two "doors to Europe" have drastically reduced their permeability. Vesela Cherneva, Deputy Director of the European Council for Foreign Policy, added that the key to the Schengen conversation is through the idea of the "Three Gates" to Europe. When two of these "gates" close tightly, it is natural for the flow to go where there is the greatest permeability. This something weighs heavily on our country at a time when we should appear prepared for such challenges, and our political environment is seriously shaken.
Bulgaria has a huge problem with the European model for solving the migrant crisis, said Bezlov. As a border country, we are not doing enough to discourage migrants from trying to enter the EU. They are targeted with the clear awareness that they are breaking the law, but weak measures and limited consequences for offenders cannot be an effective demotivator, he added. Spain, for example, has managed to reach an agreement with its external neighbors, which has drastically reduced the flow. Italy, on the other hand, has started another type of policy, in which the Italian state refuses to accept ships with migrants. In Bulgaria, we have had political instability, especially in the last two years, which leads to inefficient functioning of the institutions.
When asked what Bulgarian diplomacy is doing at this moment, Cherneva replied that the Foreign Ministry is working hard on the subject. There were also talks in the Netherlands and Sweden. According to her, the problem is political and a problem of trust. What is happening is not only and only related to the specific problem of migration. The prospect of returning a government to the status quo actually leads to serious doubts on the part of the partners that Bulgaria can clean its system of heavy corruption practices.
Vesela Cherneva answered that help can be sought from Frontex. So far, however, no such request has been made, stressing that some of the reasons are the reluctance of past governments to interfere with border schemes.At this stage, Bulgaria is the millstone around Romania's neck, she added. A major problem is political instability and signals that we cannot deal with corruption and the internal problems of the state.
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