Brussels 24 November 2023 (TDI): Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov delivered a significant address to the European Parliament on November 22, 2023, in Brussels, underscoring the pivotal role that the European Union plays in international affairs.
Denkov highlighted the EU’s pivotal position on the global stage and called for an increased role as a mediator and guarantor of peace.
During the speech, Denkov expressed concerns about Russia’s attempts to use economic and cultural ties to divide Bulgarian society. He underscored the importance of EU and NATO membership as the primary safeguards for Bulgaria’s democratic and European development. “This is why we need to complete our European integration by joining the Schengen area and the Eurozone.
He reaffirmed Bulgria’s fulfillment of all necessary Schengen requirements and declared that “Any further postponement is unacceptable and demotivating.”
He emphasized that the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area would strengthen Europe’s borders and enhance the continent’s overall resilience.
He also underscored the geopolitical landscape and warned against underestimating the potential expansion of the conflict in the Middle East. Drawing parallels with the war in Ukraine, he stated, “By defending Ukraine, we defend Europe.”
Furthermore, he called for unity and proactive engagement, urging Europe to bolster its strategic alliances with NATO partners and enhance its defense capabilities. He suggested careful consideration of the idea of creating a single European army to bolster the continent’s security.
In response to Denkov’s address, the majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) called for an end to the discrimination of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens. They demanded a Council vote on the Schengen accession of both countries before the end of 2023.
MEPs appreciated the pro-European government in Bulgaria and its recent reforms. Some MEPs also urged Bulgaria to address loopholes related to sanctions on Russian gas, enhance environmental protection measures, safeguard the rights of minorities, and support EU enlargement in the Western Balkans.