Welt am Sonntag: Bulgaria is ‘deliberately negligent’ on border protection

Written by on October 15, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Welt am Sonntag: Bulgaria is ‘deliberately negligent’ on border protection

Every month, 15 000 asylum seekers reach Germany, mostly via the Balkans, Welt am Sonntag said on October 15. An article in today’s edition reads, the Greek government was presenting inaccurate numbers, in an attempt to conceal the fact that refugees were waved through Greece’s northern border.

Bulgaria secured the European Union’s outer border in a “deliberately negligent” way, it says. Migrants were rubber-stamped, in a breach of EU rules, and many of them ended up in Germany.

According to the Ministry of the Interior in Berlin, “findings relevant to migration from the countries along the Balkan Route point towards an ongoing migration from Greece, by land.” Greece officially says, 62 000 refugees were present on its territory, including the islands. But in reality it seemed that only 40 000 asylum seekers were present, Welt am Sonntag’ writes, in spite of the fact that 20 000 new refugees had arrived via the Aegean, this year alone.

Even the UNHCR officially says that only 44 000 migrants were supported in Greece, and that number had been conveyed to the government in Athens. The latter had announced a correction of its numbers in mid-September, but nothing had happened, the German article reads.

According to secret documents authored by German security services, in Greece, the “migratory pressure” towards Germany is still high. Due to the fact that the Greek-Macedonian border was secured more and more, alternative migration routes had gained in importance. This was where Bulgaria came in.

In those internal documents from Germany, it said, for migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, Bulgaria was an important transit country. Sofia served as the turnstile.

German authorities believe that lots of refugees choose routes through Bulgaria, because the “corruption threat among border guards” was high. Bulgaria did not have the “juridical capabilities or factual possibilities” it would need to reverse those developments.

In spite of countless corruption scandals around its border police, and the porosity of its borders, Bulgaria keeps on saying it was ready to join the Schengen Zone. Recently, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had said, both Bulgaria and Romania should be invited into the Schengen Zone, but leading politicians in Germany and other Western European E.U. member states rejected the idea.

The ‘Welt am Sonntag’ article (in German), can be accessed here. Photo by European Commission

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com