Bulgarian President-elect Roumen Radev has called for more urgent measures for extradition and more EU assistance, following the November 24 violent clashes at the Harmanli refugee camp.
Radev was speaking on November 26 while attending a national council meeting of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which was behind the “initiative committee” that nominated him in Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections.
Asked if the uprising at Harmanli – which saw clashes between people at the centre and police, significant property damage, injuries and arrests – could have been avoided, Radev said that the reasons for what happened were very complex.
“This is a matter for pre-emptive information and the work of the (security) services at the centre,” Radev said.
He said that the centres were overcrowded and there had long been warnings about that.
There was a need for urgent measures for extradition (by which he probably meant deportation), Radev said.
“We already have agreements within the framework of the EU and that should be felt,” he said.
Radev, who repeatedly in his presidential election campaign used hard-line rhetoric on migration, said that Bulgaria needed to make further efforts to protect its borders and to push for more EU assistance.
As head of state, Radev – who takes office on January 22 2017 – will not be heading the executive arm of government, which is the preserve of the prime minister and cabinet.
On November 26, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, who is still in office as head of government in spite of his resignation and will remain so pending the appointment of a caretaker cabinet, said that the situation at refugee centres in Bulgaria was currently calm.
The refugee wave was currently at an all-time low, since the migration pressure began, Borissov told reporters.
Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova said that there was no tension at refugee centres in the Bulgarian capital city.
Extra patrols of police and gendarmerie were on duty in risk areas in the city, Fandukova said.
“We have police patrols everywhere, including in the centre of the city. We have good co-ordination with the Interior Ministry, with the colleagues from the Sofia directorate of the Interior Ministry, as well as with the State Agency for Refugees, so for the moment we have no worries,” she said.
People were worried but should relax, Fandukova said.
(Photo of Radev: bsp.bg)