Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov showed German chancellor Angela Merkel a map as they held a brief conversation in Bratislava, to underline his point that his country needs “concrete support and solidarity immediately” as an external EU border in the face of the migration crisis.
At the start of the EU informal summit in Bratislava, to discuss the refugee and migration crisis and a post-Brexit EU, Borissov spoke with Merkel and with Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel.
“I presented to them the challenges facing Bulgaria in connection with migration and the security of the external borders of the EU,” Borissov said.
“I explained to them the efforts our country is making, and how many kilometres of land and sea borders we guard. As an external border of the European Union, Bulgaria needs concrete support and solidarity immediately,” he said.
In recent days, Borissov said that Bulgaria was requesting 160 million euro in further assistance from the EU to deal with refugees and said that he had received the support of the countries of the Visegrad Four.
On September 16, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said that it had submitted the request for the 160 million euro aid, to cover five projects.
The projects involve updating technical equipment used for exercising border control along Bulgaria’s external borders, increasing integrated surveillance and modernising the communications and information systems along Bulgaria’s external borders, and strengthening Bulgaria’s national capacity in regard to asylum and migration.
In the first eight months of 2016, Bulgaria’s State Agency for Refugees registered 12 164 refugees.
Bulgarian Interior Ministry statistics were that by early September, the number of refugees and migrants entering Bulgaria exceeded 13 000 people.
Figures released by the International Organization for Migration, in a weekly report, said that from August 31 to September 6, 645 refugees and migrants entered Bulgaria. In the week of September 7 to 14, the number was 664.
(Photos via Borissov’s Facebook page)