EU grants Bulgaria 5.66M euro to address asylum seekers influx

Written by on November 29, 2013 in Bulgaria - No comments

The European Commission said on November 29 that was providing 5.66 million euro in emergency funding from the European Refugee Fund to Bulgaria to help the country manage the increased influx of asylum seekers and improve the situation on the ground for refugees.

The funding will be used, amongst others, to increase reception and accommodation capacity for asylum seekers, to secure their livelihood and to provide them with medical and psychological assistance, the Commission said.

“The emergency funding will ease the situation on the ground for asylum seekers and refugees who have fled their countries and will help the Bulgarian authorities to finance urgent measures for accommodation and reception as well as the provision of immediate health care and assistance,” European home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a statement.

Bulgaria has struggled to deal with the inflow of Syrian refugees into the country over the past several months, which quickly exceeded the country’s available facilities to house asylum seekers. According to the latest estimates from Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry, more than 11 000 people have entered the country as illegal immigrants since the start of the year.

Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev said, earlier this week, that Bulgaria will step up efforts in the coming months to expand refugee housing, increase the capacity of the Refugees Agency to deal with refugee status applications, but also expel people that posed a threat to national security.

Several EU member states – including Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – have offered Bulgaria grants in recent weeks to help the country deal with the refugee influx.

(Photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)

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