Sixty-three per cent of Bulgarians see the refugee influx as a danger to the country, according to a poll by opinion polling agency Alpha Research, a conference in Sofia was told on September 28.
Eighty-seven per cent of those polled said that Bulgaria should co-ordinate its policies on refugees with the rest of Europe and should accept migrants according to its capacity.
Responding to a question about what Bulgaria’s actions should be about the issue, 89 per cent of those polled said that Bulgaria should fight people-trafficking rings and 76 per cent said that the fence along the border should be strengthened.
Only 11 per cent believed that Europe would cope successfully with the crisis. Sixty-three per cent supported the quota principle put forward by the European Commission, which envisages the redistribution of refugees from “frontline states” such as Greece and Italy to other EU countries.
The Alpha Research survey was carried out between September 5 and 7 and was commissioned by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.
The head of Bulgaria’s State Agency for Refugees, Nikola Kazakov, told the conference that there had been a sharp increase in refugee pressure on Bulgaria in 2015.
Between the beginning of the year and September 23 2015, a total of 11 742 people had sought asylum in Bulgaria. In 2010, the number was only 1025.
Over five years, a total of 33 000 people had sought protection in Bulgaria. A total of 9 300 had received refugee status.
Kazakov said that the largest group was Syrians, and Iraqis the next-largest.
He said that as a whole, foreigners seeking protection in the country had low levels of education.
Saying that the capacity of refugee accommodation would be increased, Kazakov said that all centres now had translators and well-equipped consulting rooms, issues over which Bulgaria until recently was criticised.
(Photo: UNICEF/Tomislav Georgiev)