Research Paper by
The current research paper aims at examining the perceptions of the Schengen Agreement and its current state from the point of a view of a non-Schengen EU Member State. It sheds light on the public support for the Agreement in Bulgaria and looks for parallels to Romania since both countries acceded the European Union together in 2007 and since then have been jointly put under a tailor-made mechanism for oversight of their judiciary, the shortages of which play a crucial role on their way to Schengen membership. While governments in both Member States attempt to tackle these shortcomings, public support for Schengen starts to decrease, since it gets perceived no longer as an advantage, but rather than as a security threat. However, the paper argues that institutions can leverage on the strong support for EU in Bulgaria and Romania to prevent populist rhetoric from using Schengen for enhancing its outreach.