Grande-Marlaska conveys Spain's support in Romania and Bulgaria for their incorporation into the Schengen area

News - 2023.3.30

The Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has conveyed Spain's support to his counterparts from Romania, Lucian Nicolae Bode, and Bulgaria, Ivan Demerdzhiev, to complete their incorporation into the Schengen area during the Spanish presidency of the EU.

"We will work as hard as possible to unblock this issue and I trust that the formal meeting of the Council of Interior Ministers scheduled for September will be the moment to finally achieve results," said Grande-Marlaska during his trip to Bucharest and Sofia on Thursday, a trip that is part of the round of meetings with the interior ministers of the 27 EU Member States to prepare for the Spanish Presidency of the EU.

The minister insisted with his counterparts on the need to lift internal border controls, "both those that should have been lifted a long time ago, such as those in Romania and Bulgaria, and those that have been unjustifiably maintained since 2015".

Grande-Marlaska has also explained to his colleagues the priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the EU in the area of home affairs, which he has focused on six axes, which he considers are "fundamental for reinforcing security".

The war in Ukraine, the fight against terrorism and organised crime, the prevention of common challenges such as gender violence, civil protection and road safety, police cooperation and the approval of the Pact on Migration and Asylum are the main objectives defined by Spain for this presidency.

Bilateral agenda

Grande-Marlaska, who arrived in Bucharest on Wednesday afternoon, began Thursday in the Romanian capital with a visit to the General Inspectorate of the Border Police. He then met with his counterpart Lucian Nicolae Bode at the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, who conveyed the importance of cooperation between the two countries to offer support to Romanian citizens living in Spain "who actively contribute to the development of the Spanish economy and culture", added Nicolae Bode.

Grande-Marlaska also held a brief meeting with the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, who announced that the minister had been awarded the Order of National Merit, in the rank of knight.

The minister thanked the Romanian president for the award, which recognises "the important contribution and extraordinary involvement in the development of excellent bilateral relations in the field of home affairs". Grande-Marlaska has conveyed to the president his commitment "to redouble my efforts to deserve this honour" and to continue contributing to improving relations between the two countries.

In the afternoon, the minister flew to Sofia, where he met with the Bulgarian Interior Minister, Ivan Demerdzhiev, before returning to Spain.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, along with his Bulgarian counterpart, Ivan Demerdzhiev, in Sofia

Round of preparatory meetings of the presidency

The visit to Bucharest and Sofia is part of the minister's round of meetings with his European counterparts in preparation for Spain's presidency of the EU. The first bilateral meeting took place in Rome on 3 February, followed by further meetings in Berlin, Warsaw and Valletta, where he met with his colleagues from the MED5 Group on 4 March.

During the last Council of Interior Ministers held in Brussels on 9 February, Grande-Marlaska also met with his Belgian counterpart, Annelies Verlinden; with the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson; and with the President of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Juan Fernando López Aguilar.

Non official translation