Bulgaria and Schengen

last update: June 2011

Bulgaria – External Border of Schengen

The Bulgarian government is actively searching for Bulgaria to join the Schengen area. Consequently, even more restrictions will be imposed on the asylum seekers to organize a better life freely and humanely.

First, this means building new detention and “reception” centers as well as intensifying the border control coordination. For more details: Link > Detention

Second, the Schengen arrangement requires a militarization of the boders. After becoming a full member of Schengen, Bulgaria will share the external border of the European Union with Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia and the Black Sea – a total of 1647km. In this context, a special attention is being paid to the Bulgarian-Turkish border. Among other things, the militarization of the borders results in increasing border staff, more surveillance towers, new military technologies (for example, three new helicopters have been purchased from an Italian corporation for this purpose). Bulgarian policemen are taking part in the FRONTEX mission “Poseidon” along the Greek-Turkish water and land border. Since March 2011 FRONTEX policemen are directly present at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

Third, all this enables the flourishing of a newly emerged “border industry”. According to the Minister of Interior, Tzvetan Tzvetanov, Bulgaria has spent 160 Mio Euro during the last three years for “strengthening its borders”. 80% of them were financed by the European Union. The deputy Minister of Interior, Dimitar Georgiev, has stated (2011) that the main advantages of Bulgaria joining the Schengen zone are the creation of new jobs, stimulating of foreign investments and safety for the business.

Fourth, Bulgaria has already been issuing visas with biometric data, meaning ten fingerprints and a digital picture, for persons outside of the EU.

Last but not least, the introduction of the Schengen criteria has also provoked the already strong nationalistic trends in the country. For example, only a day after Greece announced its decision to build a wall along its whole land border with Turkey (after that it leaned back for 12,5 km in the northern part of this border) in 2011, a Bulgarian party called “Society for a new Bulgaria” insisted that such a wall should be built along the whole Bulgarian-Turkish border (250km).

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