Sofia, 1 December 2000 (RFE/RL) - Bulgarian politicians today welcomed as "historic" a decision by EU interior ministers to lift controversial visa requirements for Bulgarian nationals. President Petar Stoyanov, addressing parliament, said the decision marked the end of an important period in Bulgarian history.
"For Bulgarian citizens the Berlin Wall truly fell today. ... Because for the majority of the Bulgarian people, deprived of many other rights and, most conspicuously, of their right to travel abroad, freedom - the collapse of communism, the lifting of the Iron Curtain, the implementation of the European idea - was linked to free and unhindered travel around the world."
The EU ministers' decision to allow Bulgarians to travel visa-free to EU countries still has to be approved by the European parliament and is not expected to come into effect for several months.