As part of efforts to convince Austria that the irregular migration situation in Bulgaria has improved, the latter’s authorities have welcomed the President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, who visited Bulgaria’s border with Türkey.

During his visit, Sabotka expressed his appreciation for Bulgaria’s efforts to protect the European Union’s external borders, considering this country an important partner of Austria, reports.

At the same time, the Deputy Chief of the Bulgarian border police, Radoslav Kulekov, said that migrants were extremely aggressive and attempted to overcome the border fence.

Authorities in Bulgaria have intensified their efforts to convince Austria that they have done enough in their fight against irregular migration so Austria would support the Balkan country’s accession to the Schengen Zone by the end of this year.

Irregular migration concerns are among the main reasons that led Austria and the Netherlands to block the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in December last year.

The membership of Bulgaria and Romania to the borderless area of Schengen is expected to be brought to the table once again at the Justice and Home Affairs (JAI) Council meeting in December this year.

However, Vienna has made it clear that its position when it comes to this issue remains unchanged.

Still, authorities in Bulgaria believe that the country will be admitted to the visa-free travel zone by the end of this year. A similar comment was made by the Bulgarian Minister of Internal Affairs, Kalin Stoianov, earlier this year, while he stressed that the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU will do anything needed for the finalisation of this process.

Stoianov said that authorities in Bulgaria have prevented a total of 160,000 illegal border crossing attempts since the beginning of this year, in comparison to 100,000 recorded during the same period last year.

The Minister said that there were days in the previous month when irregular border crossings were about 1,000 to 1,500 per day.

In spite of the fact that Bulgaria and Romania have met all the needed conditions, both countries have been waiting to be part of the Schengen zone for more than ten years now.

Unlike Bulgaria, authorities in Romania are planning to take legal action if Austria blocks again their accession to the visa-free travel zone.

Recently, the Prime Minister of Romania, Marcel Ciolacu, said that if Vienna uses its veto, he will appeal the decision to the High Court.