“If Germany, Austria and other countries close their borders, we will not allow our nations to become a buffer zone. We will be ready in the same way to close ours,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said after a trilateral meeting in Sofia on October 24 with his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta and Serbia’s Aleksandar Vučić.
The Craiova Troika, as the meeting of the three countries’ heads of government is termed, met in the Bulgarian capital at the initiative of Borissov, ahead of an October 25 EU Leaders Meeting called by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss a response to the huge flow of migrants through the Balkans.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister convened the meeting in Sofia for the three prime ministers to discuss the migrant crisis and energy issues in the region.
Borissov said that Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, even though Serbia is not an EU member state but was behaving with full responsibility as if it were one, were showing that they were much better prepared than other EU countries.
He said that Bulgaria and Romania were by far better at guarding the Schengen borders, at least half of them. Huge waves of refugees were going through Greece and Macedonia into Bulgaria’s neighbouring country, Serbia, Borissov said.
“The problem with barriers in Hungary is creating buffers,” Borissov said.
“All three countries are ready, if Germany, Austria and other countries close their borders, we will not leave our people to become a buffer zone. We will be ready in the same way to close ours. We will not put our countries under the devastating pressures of refugee waves.”
He said that agreements with Turkey should be supported , “to keep millions out there, on Turkish territory”.
A look at the map of Europe would show that Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece would remain a buffer zone between Turkey and the EU, Borissov said.
“The boosted construction of fences in Europe worries us. We declare that they have our full European solidarity, but we are not blind and if more countries go over to this experiment of closing borders, leaving refugees with us, we will not agree. It’s not about money,” he said.
Serbian PM Vučić told the joint news conference after the meeting, “We have the most difficult problems – the highest number of refugees passed through Serbia. Refugees kept on coming from two directions . Serbia did not complain and did not ask for anything and received nothing”.
“Co-operation with Bulgaria and Romania is more important for us. We will achieve this kind of stability we need. We back a more tolerant attitude. We will observe the decisions the troika makes and they will be in force when we can comply with what the other European countries do, more concretely Germany and Austria,” Vučić said, adding that he believes that Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia will manage to preserve regional stability.
Romania’s Ponta said that “the three countries have a common strategy as of today and this is highly important. If we speak today about the migrant crisis, we, the three countries, want to have also a common strategy for the energy sector and the Schengen Area. Thus our three voices will be better heard when together than when they are separate”.