Discussions between the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the future Head of the Government of Bulgaria on the subject of Schengen. What's next for full membership

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luminița Odobescu, who is visiting Bulgaria at the invitation of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Gabriel, had a bilateral meeting on Monday, including discussions on the steps for full accession to Schengen.

Foreign Minister Luminița Odobescu with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Gabriel Photo: X

Luminita Odobescu stated on her X page that accession to Schengen remains a key priority for the two states. “We expressed our common will to improve Romanian-Bulgarian relations, based on our strategic partnership. Strengthening connectivity and promoting cooperation within NATO and the EU, including accession to Schengen, remain key priorities“Lumința Odobescu wrote on X.

“Qin terms of the accession of the two countries to the Schengen area, it was agreed to maintain a close coordination for the practical implementation of the Decision taken last December regarding the full application by Romania and Bulgaria of the Schengen acquis, as well as with a view to obtaining, as soon as possible, of the Decision on the lifting of land border controls”, shows a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Bulgarian minister: The accession of the two states is the result of good bilateral cooperation

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen Area is a significant success that will contribute to improving the sustainability and positive development of the region and Europe in general, said Maria Gabriel, after the meeting with Luminița Odobescu, according to Agerpres.

The two sides agreed to coordinate their actions in the future to obtain the elimination of checks at internal European borders, Odobescu said.

Gabriel declared that the accession of the two states is the result of good bilateral cooperation. She added that joint efforts will continue throughout 2024, so that our countries can achieve the elimination of checks at land borders, in the context of participation in the Schengen Area. Bulgaria and Romania have proven that through well-coordinated efforts they can achieve significant goals, Gabriel emphasized.

The Bulgarian foreign minister noted that the visit made to Sofia by Odobescu is the first official visit of a Romanian foreign minister in more than ten years. She showed that Romania is a strategic partner of Bulgaria.

Gabriel pointed out that in March it will be one year since the signing of the declaration on the strategic partnership between the two countries, noting that: “our commitment is to collaborate for connectivity – in science, education, energy, technology and innovation, to ensure a more sustainable development of South East Europe“.

According to the Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister, the meeting emphasized the construction of the European North-South transport corridor, the connection of the transport infrastructure and the diversification of energy resources. Gabriel also stated that in recent months, Romania and Bulgaria have joined together and intensified their efforts to implement important infrastructure projects, such as the construction of a new bridge over the Danube.

The Bulgarian official expressed his desire that the two states join their efforts to speed up the process of joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Gabriel also highlighted the joint responsibility of the two countries for maintaining peace and security in the Black Sea region, a successful example of cooperation in the field of security being the establishment of a working group of the governments of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey for measures against mines in the Black Sea.

The Bulgarian foreign minister used three words to describe his meeting on Monday with her Romanian counterpart and the relations between Bulgaria and Romania:

Cooperation, connectivity and security, this is how the Bulgarian foreign minister described his meeting with Luminița Odobescu, stating that these three are the principles that Bulgaria and Romania offer to the European Union, NATO, and their citizens.

Odobescu also discussed with the president and prime minister of Bulgaria

Luminita Odobescu was also received by President Rumen Radev during his official visit to Bulgaria where he spoke about “the strategic partnership, established 1 year ago, through consolidated dialogue at the bilateral and regional level and closer cooperation within the EU and NATO”.

Honored to be received by 🇧🇬 President Rumen Radev during my official visit to BG. Mutual interest for strengthening 🇷🇴-🇧🇬 Strategic Partnership, established 1 year ago, through enhanced dialogue at bilateral & regional level & closer cooperation within EU & NATO. @PresidentOfB pic.twitter.com/t1jshEIcle

— Luminita Odobescu (@Odobes1Luminita) February 5, 2024

Also, the Romanian Foreign Minister held discussions with the Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov, regarding the cooperative relations between the two states, with special emphasis on strengthening connectivity and developing the dialogue regarding issues related to the security of the Black Sea, and about the close coordination of common objectives at the EU level, including with regard to the Schengen area.

Substantive discussion with BG PM @AcadDenkov on 🇷🇴-🇧🇬 cooperation. Special focus on strengthening connectivity & developing dialogue on Black Sea security issues. Agreed to continue the close coordination on EU files of common interest, including on Schengen. pic.twitter.com/anoFpTMGNJ

— Luminita Odobescu (@Odobes1Luminita) February 5, 2024