EU risks losing Bulgarian citizens’ support for Schengen

EU risks losing Bulgarian citizens’ support for Schengen |

Most Bulgarian citizens still support the country’s Schengen membership, but the numbers are decreasing a sociological survey conducted by the Open Society Institute in Sofia revealed.

More than 42% of respondents support Bulgaria’s Schengen membership, less than 34% are against it, and another 24% have no opinion. The survey was conducted between 6 and 16 June.

Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen has the strongest support among supporters of the pro-European “Democratic Bulgaria” (93%), “We continue the change” (63%) and GERB (60%). The largest share of opponents of Schengen is observed among those living in villages (38%), people with primary education (36%), and the unemployed (42%).

The political profile of these people often leans towards pro-Russian parties Bulgarian Socialist Party (58%), and the radical anti-European “Vazrazhdane” (50%).

The highest support for the country’s accession to Schengen was in 2011 (67%), after which support gradually decreased due to increased migrant pressure after 2015.

“Against this background, a possible further postponement of membership risks losing the existing majority in support of this integration policy,” one of the study’s findings concluded.

Back in 2011, the Commission announced that Bulgaria had fulfilled all the criteria for Schengen membership. In December of this year, the EU Council is expected to accept Croatia, but the membership of Bulgaria and Romania is still being questioned by the Netherlands and Sweden.

(Krassen Nikolov |


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