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Bulgaria seeks Shengen area membership for early 2011

Date: 28.07.2007

The end of 2010 or early 2011 is a realistic timeframe for Bulgaria to join the Schengen area, Foreign Minister Ivailo Kalfin said at an annual meeting of Bulgarian ambassadors in Sofia on 24 July, according to a report in BBC Monitoring.

Membership would allow for the removal of systematic border controls between Bulgaria and other member states, as well as cross-border police co-operation.

Hope for membership comes after Bulgaria's January 2007  EU accession, which Kalfin described as a difficult and critical process.

Kalfin added that Bulgaria has taken measures to make the country an "important regional energy and infrastructure hub."

He added that Bulgarian foreign policy actively works towards a peaceful and secure international environment, prosperity, investments and economic growth, free movement and protection of the interests of Bulgarian nationals abroad.

The country desires a constructive dialogue with its neighbours, including Macedonia.

With regard to Kosovo, Kalfin recalled Bulgaria's position on a multi-ethnic Kosovo with unchanged borders.

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