Bulgaria: Refugee relocation ‘only a temporary solution’

The European Commission’s refugee relocation quota system is only a temporary solution, according to Bulgaria’s position adopted at a September 23 Cabinet meeting a few hours before a special European Council meeting in Brussels on the migrant crisis.

Bulgaria will be represented by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov at the European Council meeting, called by council President Donald Tusk at the insistence of Germany and Austria.

A day earlier, EU justice and home affairs ministers approved by majority vote the European Commissions’s latest scheme on the migrant relocation quotas, envisaging the transfer within EU countries of 120 000 people in obvious need of protection. Bulgaria was among countries to vote in favour of the EC proposal.

Bulgaria’s position is that the adoption of a mechanism for relocation in response to the crisis is a temporary solution, a government statement after the Cabinet meeting said.

What was required was a durable and solid decision to limit the pressure at the external borders and the consequent secondary migration, Bulgaria’s government said.

The EU should give priority and urgency to work with its partners to stabilise the countries of origin and help transit countries, the statement said.

Turkey as a direct neighbour of the EU is a key country and the EU should consider urgent measures to support the capabilities of Turkey for accepting refugees, Bulgaria’s Cabinet said.

At the same meeting, the Cabinet approved a draft agreement on cooperation between the Ministry of Interior and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Bulgaria has been a a member of IOM since 1994. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in 2009.

The new document approved on September 23 2015 updates the forms of interaction, taking into account changes in the past few years – increased migration flows and the need for effective management of migration in close co-operation between governmental institutions and international organizations.

The IOM is a key partner of the EU regarding voluntary return.

The agreement aims at establishing a mechanism for co-operation in the implementation of programs for assisted voluntary return and reintegration of third-country nationals, as well as the prevention and combating of trafficking and support for victims of trafficking.

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry and the IOM will co-operate in other areas, including the improvement of the concept of integrated border management, increased capacity and knowledge in the field of migration management, facilitation of the integration of foreign citizens in Bulgaria, raising awareness of Bulgarian society on migration policy.



The Sofia Globe staff

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