The work for the Schengen area membership must continue until the last moment.
The Dutch are pragmatic people and unceremoniously direct in both interpersonal and international relations. This is how they should be treated.
In my opinion, their problems are not specifically with Bulgaria, but we are the victims.
First, it is important for them that the land zone without border control does not start from the Greek and especially the Turkish border, otherwise any immigrant who finds himself in Bulgaria or Greece would have quick unhindered access to Western Europe. And Western Europe is tired. The stream still flows there, but it would accelerate and widen.
Second, accelerated South-North transport links after the abolition of border controls will strengthen the competitive advantages of Greek ports. Whether this is really a threat to Rotterdam is not for me to say, but goods from China via the Suez Canal will certainly have even faster access. On top of that, the largest Piraeus is in Chinese hands, that of Thessaloniki is owned by a Russian businessman, and the global environment of confrontation with the East is an additional problem.
Third, we ourselves gave reasons to talk about ineffective border control with concrete facts almost daily, which I warned about. Let’s also recall Minister Demerdzhiev’s hearing in Parliament, where he announced worrying deficits of all kinds along the border with Turkey.
All this is easily packaged by the Dutch through the half-hearted fight against corruption in our country.
The Netherlands can achieve its goal by not confronting all three candidates, but by separating only Bulgaria and letting in Romania, respectively Croatia. Smart for them, painful for us. There were all indications that such a decision is being prepared, even with the fact that they did not send their representatives in the last missions, which gave a high assessment of Bulgaria’s readiness for Schengen.
And now, instead of complaining or feeling sorry for ourselves, instead of fanning baseless anti-European feelings (provided that all the institutions of the European Union and all the other member countries support us), it is good to take a pragmatic approach as Dutch people:
– to explain that the Bulgarian-Romanian border along the Danube cannot be an effective Schengen border and was never intended as such;
– to make enforceable commitments to further strengthen the southern border and strengthen control inside the country;
– to hold bilateral and multilateral talks to reach an acceptable solution now, which would guarantee our entry into Schengen, even at the cost of a delay of several months, if necessary;
– to seek bilateral contacts with Turkey, which seems unable or rather unwilling to establish stricter control on its side of the border;
– to analyze the possibilities for asymmetric actions on our part that would have an effect, incl. related to the EU’s decision-making process, which requires unanimity – with their stones on their heads, as the people say;
– to emphasize more strongly (geo)political arguments related to the need to consolidate the European project and prevent anti-European rhetoric in Bulgaria.
In this situation, I cannot help but mention that Continuing the Change and Democratic Bulgaria refused to participate in the vote on the declaration of the Parliament on Schengen, submitted by the BSP in order to show Bulgaria’s unity on the subject. This also did not go unnoticed, regardless of how the two parties explained it in our country. There is simply no place for sarcastic on such topics.