Bulgaria’s Minister of Defence: Refugee Crisis Threatens National Security

Written by on October 22, 2016 in Bulgaria - No comments

The Bulgarian Defence Minister, Nikolay Nenchev, has assured citizens the nation’s army was ready to react to any emergency at Bulgaria’s border to Turkey. After a meeting with military personnel at that same border, Nenchev said, the armed forces could send 2,000 soldiers within hours, if needed.

“The problem of the refugee crisis threatens the national security of Bulgaria”, Nenchev was quoted saying by Bulgarian National Radio (BNR). “We are taking border protection very seriously”, he stated. According to the minister, the situation in the refugee’s countries of origin, such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iran and Lybia, does not make his government optimistic.

At this stage, the Bulgarian Border Police, which has been rocked by countless corruption scandals, is protecting the border in cooperation with the new European border protection agency (“Frontex 2.0”).

In the meantime, the latest news about refugees trying to cross borders illegally, are mixed. On the one hand, less than 400 refugees were caught trying to cross the southern border into Bulgaria, in the past three months, according to media reports. That would be a more than harmless number of people.

On the other hand, the latest news from Serbia suggest that many thousands of refugees are in motion, in spite of the fact that the so-called Balkan Route is closed to them. According to BNT, Serbian border police and soldiers, protecting the country’s borders to Bulgaria and Macedonia, have stopped 12,000 refugees from crossing into Serbia since the end of July.

In the meantime, protesters in Sofia, Harmanli and other Bulgarian cities and towns have demanded a deportation of all refugees in the country. Those demonstrations, co-organized by radical right-wing parties, have become a regular occurrence in Bulgaria. 

By Imanuel Marcus

Photo by the Ministery of Defence, Sofia

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