Bulgaria, which has stepped up funding for additional accommodation for asylum-seekers, is planning to provide a further 500 places for refugees by housing them mainly in state hostels and low-cost hotels in the capital city Sofia.
This is according to the head of the State Agency for Refugees, Nikola Kazakov, who was speaking to local media against a background of an increasing number of refugees reaching Bulgaria as a result of the crisis in Syria.
Kazakov, like a number of senior government officials, said that Bulgaria was not facing a refugee crisis, in spite of the fact that numbers of illegal migrants entering the country’s territory was significantly up on last year.
In the first seven months of 2013, a total of 2320 people sought asylum in Bulgaria. The total figure for 2012 was about 1000.
Kazakov said that Bulgaria was doing its best to meet a possible influx of refugees and added that the wave of refugees from Syria and the Middle East was under control.
He said that Bulgaria was not facing a refugee crisis, and that would happen only if more than 3000 refugees headed for Bulgaria seeking asylum. He said that if problems arose, Bulgaria would seek help from the UN High Commission for Refugees and the European Commission.
On August 28, 37 illegal immigrants were detained at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, according to the Interior Ministry. There were 15 children among the refugees. Of the 37, a total of 34 were from Syria. The previous day, the Interior Ministry said that 40 illegal migrants had been detained, of whom 25 were from Syria.
At a meeting on August 28, Bulgaria’s Cabinet decided to allocate 565 000 leva to create additional capacity for temporary accommodation for asylum seekers. At the same time, the government said that additional measures were being taken to strengthen control at border checkpoints, given the increased numbers of people entering Bulgaria illegally across the Turkish border.
(Photo: Interior Ministry)