Refugee crisis: EU to provide further funds for protection of Bulgarian borders

Written by on September 14, 2016 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Refugee crisis: EU to provide further funds for protection of Bulgarian borders

The European Union will increase its help for Bulgaria regarding the protection of its borders. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, made that promise in a letter to Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, just days before the summit in Brussels that will bring together EU heads of government mainly to discuss the ongoing refugee crisis.

Sources in Brussels said they expected Borissov to give his partners a worst-case scenario of a situation in which the so-called EU-Turkey Deal fails. In this case, Bulgaria fears it might be “overrun” by refugees, if Turkey opens its borders for them, as a reaction to the EU’s failure to give in to Ankara’s demands.

Juncker’s letter to Borissov says the protection of the outer EU borders was of highest importance.

“I know how much effort the Bulgarian authorities are putting into this and I admire their determination. Be assured that the Commission will support member states at the outer borders, such as Bulgaria, by strengthening their security”. Juncker also promised to put the subject on the summit agenda.

The Europan Commission sees Borissov as an ally, since he had demanded more solidarity from certain Eastern European states. This was addressed to governments who intend to refrain from accommodating any part of the refugees, who came to Europe last year.

The ongoing discussions on the crisis were overshadowed today, when Bulgarian authorities in the north of the country reported, two Iraqi “migrants” had drowned during their attempt to cross the Danube into Romania illegally, among them a little child. Four more persons are missing and might have drowned as well.

Meanwhile, Borissov, his Hungarian counterpart Victor Orbán and his Serbian colleague Aleksadar Vucic met in Burgas yesterday evening. The refugee crisis was the main point on the agenda here as well. Both Hungary and Serbia were transit countries for hundreds of thousands of refugees last year, before the E.U. Turkey Deal was agreed on. Orbán, a nationalist, has been criticized by Western European governments for his far-right positions and for the partially scandalous treatment of refugees in Hungary. Information about the content of those Burgas conversations might be released today.

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Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com