Bulgaria to ask other EU countries to accommodate refugees as country heads for ‘critical point’

Bulgaria will soon exceed the limit of 5000 refugees that it can accommodate and will ask that some refugees arriving in the country be redirected to other European Union countries, according to Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev.

At the same time, Yovchev told a September 16 2013 news conference that within a week, there would be 1000 further places for accommodating refugees: “We cannot, and I believe that we will not, fall into a humanitarian crisis,” he said.

Bulgaria was 1.5 per cent of the population of the EU and soon refugees would be four to five per cent, Yovchev said. He said that Bulgaria would not be able to take on this burden without European solidarity.

He said that there were 4010 people undergoing the procedure for obtaining refugee status. Of these, 1465 were Syrians.

The procedure had not yet started for 1000 people. Of these, about 250 were Syrians.

Yovchev said that the limit for accommodating refugees to which he referred was “according to experts” the organizational, financial and technical limit for taking refugees.

He said that, at an area that had been identified for the purpose, “we will place caravans with normal living conditions for more than 1000 people…the accommodation of refugees can start as early as this afternoon”.

Yovchev said that some people would be accommodated immediately and others within three to four days.

Provision had been made for keeping to proper standards of hygiene and there would be electricity and water supply.

With the co-operation of the Bulgarian Red Cross, food and water were being provided for those arriving, he said.

“We are continuing to look for new accommodation,” Yovchev said.

He said that “as early as this week, we will prepare the documents and ask for direct assistance from the European Commission, in financial and technical support”.




The Sofia Globe staff

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