More Than a Third of Citizens of Bulgaria Oppose Schengen Membership

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The most recent survey financed by the Open Society Institute Sofia has shown that the majority of citizens of Bulgaria support Schengen membership, but over a third still are against it.

According to the Open Society Institute, the survey took place from June 6 until June 16, 2022, and it included participants with different backgrounds and from different parts of the country, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Data provided from the survey has shown that over 42 per cent of the respondents have said that they support Bulgaria’s Schengen membership. In addition, it has been revealed that less than 34 per cent of the respondents were against Bulgaria’s Schengen membership, and another 24 per cent said they do not have an opinion on the matter.

Novinite explains that sympathisers of Democratic Bulgaria, We Continue the Change, GERB, as well as residents of Sofia and those with higher education, expressed the strongest support for the accession of Bulgarian to the Schengen Area.

Moreover, the same source noted that supporters of Bulgaria’s membership represent the largest share of all age groups, with those aged between 31 and 40, as well as those between 41 and 60 showing the strongest support.

On the other hand, Novinite pointed out that the largest share of those who oppose Bulgaria’s Schengen membership live in villages, only have primary education, and are unemployed, among others.

While the number of Bulgarians who support Schengen membership still continues to remain high, data has shown that over time, the support regarding the matter has decreased.

A survey carried out in 2011 showed that 67 per cent of the participants supported the Schengen membership of Bulgaria, and since then, the number of supporters has gradually decreased.

Since the number of supporters has significantly decreased this year compared to 2011, it has been highlighted that if the process continues to be postponed, more Bulgarians will be against Schengen accession.

Just recently the Commission of the European Union said Bulgaria is ready to become a full member of the Schengen. The Commission stressed that Bulgaria as well as Romania and Croatia have in place strong border management, have prioritised the fight against people smuggling and border crimes and have a stable Schengen Information System.

Previously, the Members of the Parliament urged the Member States of the European Union to permit Bulgaria to join the borderless area of Schengen and to end discrimination. MEPs criticised the Council for not taking a decision sooner and pushed for Bulgaria to be permitted to join the borderless area by the beginning of next year.

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