Comment: Bulgarian authorities flounder to regain initiative on refugee issue

When it comes to the refugee issue, Bulgaria’s government increasingly resembles some sort of frenetic Keystone Kops knockabout in the guard’s van as the engine steams on relentlessly with someone else driving the train.

That someone else, it seems, is the country’s ultra-nationalist groupings, who are stoking the fires as hard as they can, shovelling in illegal migrants from the Middle East and North Africa as their political fuel.

This past weekend, ultra-nationalist Volen Siderov said that his Ataka party would bring about the “painful” downfall of the current government if it did not meet his demands about the refugee situation – these demands being the expulsion of all illegal migrants and the closing of Bulgaria’s border with Turkey.

Apart from these demanded actions being of seriously questionable legality, constitutionality and practicality, a further question is whether Siderov genuinely intends to carry out such a threat or whether this was just another blast of hot air from Siderov’s otherwise empty furnace.

Either way, the government has been acting (whether in the theatrical sense or no it may be premature to say) to keep illegal migrants from entering or even finding the speediest possible ways to expel those that international law would permit it to.

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(Photo: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)