European Asylum Support Office extends support plan for Bulgaria

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and Bulgaria signed on December 5 2014 a “special support plan” which provides for EASO tailor-made support to Bulgaria to be implemented over a period of 18 months.

The support focuses on ensuring the long-term sustainability of the good results already achieved within the scope of the EASO Operating Plan for Bulgaria covering October 2013 – October 2014, EASO said.

This continued support will emphasise on institutional capacity building, quality assurance mechanisms and responding to the special needs of vulnerable groups, the office said.

On October 8 2014, Bulgaria asked EASO for support to further improve and enhance the Bulgarian asylum and reception system.

As a result of the support provided by EASO under the Operating Plan, Bulgaria managed to cope with the initial challenges and address its urgent needs related to the sudden increase of the pressure caused by mixed migration flows, EASO said.

The Bulgarian institutions managed to significantly increase their capacity in terms of reception and registration of asylum seekers, as well as their preparedness and reaction capabilities.

“Despite the achieved significant progress, Bulgaria, as an EU external border on the Eastern
Mediterranean migration route, continues to be under serious migratory and refugee pressure,” EASO said.

The request for further special support by EASO was “inspired by the will to ensure sustainability of the good results achieved by the EASO Operating Plan to Bulgaria so that the current and future challenges can be adequately addressed,” the statement said.

In addition, the results of the evaluation of the EASO Operating Plan to Bulgaria in September 2014 suggested complementary and/or follow up actions, which include for example improvements in the provision of specialized attention to vulnerable groups, including children and unaccompanied minors, throughout the registration, asylum, reception and integration process; a national training plan for sustainable staff development; and additional measures for quality assurance, EASO said.

(Photo of refugees in Sofia in 2013: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)



The Sofia Globe staff

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