IS BULGARIA IN THE EU?
Bulgaria did, in fact, join the European Union on January 1, 2007.
Bulgaria currently has 17 members of the European Parliament (MEPs). Bulgarian government representatives attend European Council meetings on a regular basis to discuss EU policy.
Bulgaria has yet to adopt the Euro as its official currency. The country continues to use the Bulgarian lev (BGV), but has committed to joining the Eurozone once all requirements are met.
Bulgaria currently meets some requirements, including exchange rate criteria; however, the country has yet to meet others.
IS BULGARIA PART OF THE SCHENGEN AREA?
Bulgaria is not yet a member of the Schengen Zone. The Balkan country is preparing to join the Schengen area and is expected to do so soon.
The Republic of Bulgaria already makes extensive use of the Schengen acquis. However, the country has not abolished borders and is currently outside the free travel zone.
Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania may also join the Schengen Area in the near future.
WHY IS BULGARIA NOT PART OF THE SCHENGEN AREA YET?
The Treaty of Accession requires Bulgaria, as an EU member state, to eventually join the Schengen Area.
The precise date on which Bulgaria will join the Schengen Area is unknown, but it is expected to be soon.
Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner, supports Bulgaria’s accession to the Schengen Area. Concerning the accession of Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania to the Schengen area, the Commissioner stated:
“We cannot accept a Europe that operates on two levels.”
According to Johansson, admitting these countries to the Schengen Area will help to strengthen borders and ease movement between Schengen countries.