Bulgarian government approves further 20M leva for fence at Turkish border against migration

Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved on October 19 a further 20 million leva (about 10.23 million euro) towards the building of a fence at the Turkish border, saying that the spending was essential to counter growing migratory pressure at the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

The funds will go to regional administrations in Bourgas, Haskovo and Yambol to assist the continued construction of the facility, a government media statement said.

“The facility is crucial to counter the migratory pressure that has been growing in recent years at the Bulgarian-Turkish border and seeks to protect the state border and control of the refugee wave,” the government statement said.

The funds are being provided through restructuring costs in the national Budget.

The growing costs of the fence at the border with Turkey are making it one of the most serious infrastructure projects undertaken by the current Bulgarian government.

The costs passed the 100 million leva mark in February and are now approaching 170 million leva.

The fence at the border with Turkey is being built outside standard statutory public procurement rules after amendments to the Public Procurement Act were approved to open the way for this, which the government said was necessary because of the urgency of the facility.

Deadlines for completion of the facility have come and gone. The original idea was for completion in March 2016. Most recently, Bulgaria’s Interior Minister said that the fence would be finished by the end of 2016.

The fence is an extension of a project ordered by the 2013/14 government. Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government decided of additions adding up to a further 133km to the existing fence – 33km in the Haskovo region, 35km in Yambol, 64km in the Bourgas region. Under pressure from the nationalist Patriotic Front, a junior partner in the coalition government arrangement, a further 60km is being added in the Strandzha area.

Current plans are for the fence to add up to about 230km. Bulgaria’s border with Turkey is 270km long.



The Sofia Globe staff

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