Europe migrant crisis: Main threat to Bulgaria from Greek, not Turkish, border – PM Borissov

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov told Parliament on March 25 that he does not expect a massive influx of migrants across the Turkish border, but sees the main threat as coming from the Greek border.

Borissov was answering questions in the National Assembly about the readiness of Bulgaria’s police and military to deal with a migrant influx and about the recent joint exercises held at various points on Bulgaria’s borders.

“I expect that the main threat comes from the Greek, and not from the Turkish border,” Borissov told MPs.

Borissov said that Turkey had a very clear commitment to its agreement with the EU coming into force.

“At the moment, at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, the pressure is small. The real problem I expect to come from Greece.”

“The Greek border is very long and unprotected, so we held an exercise there, and are concentrating more forces and resources,” he said.

Borissov said that his other concern was that the Greek government was not taking adequate steps to deal with the flow of refugees.

While in Macedonia, a poor country, refugee camps were fairly well-designed, the camps in Greece were in extremely poor condition.

“They are not ready, despite the commitment of Athens to complete them already at the end of November. The conditions are appalling, even,” Borissov said.

He said that at the most recent meeting with the president of the Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, the Bulgarian delegation had been handed new routes of refugees acquired by the Macedonian secret services. These were handed over to Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security, as well as at the most recent meeting of European Union interior ministers in Brussels.

Borissov said that intelligence services’ information was that at the moment, large groups of refugees – from 1000 to 2000 people – were being organised, to break through the borders on the way to Western Europe.

For this reason, the Bulgarian government was taking emergency measures, and on March 24, the Cabinet had decided to allocate 5.2 million leva (about 2.66 million euro) to the Interior Ministry for special equipment, including helmets and shields.

Borissov said that he had been surprised to learn that the military was even more prepared and had better equipment than the Interior Ministry.

He said that Bulgaria was ready to erect light wire fences along the directions of possible groups of large groups of refugees.

Bulgaria had sent people to neighbouring countries to monitor the movement of refugee groups, Borissov told Parliament.

He said that he had been pleasantly surprised by the motivation of the defence and interior ministry staff who had taken part in the recent border control exercises.

Borissov said that, on the eve of the new season, serious steps were being taken to protect foreign tourists.

He called for the planned anti-terrorism law to be adopted as soon as possible, asking how an intruder detained at the border could be identified if the person came from an area “where there is no state”.



The Sofia Globe staff

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