Bulgarian Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Krassimir Karakachanov has called for the army to be included in protecting public order jointly with the police.
“I put the question, does something have to happen in Bulgaria, for us also to begin to establish this co-operation between the army the police?” Karakachanov said in a September 5 interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.
Karakachanov, a co-leader of the United Patriots, the grouping of ultra-nationalist and far-right parties that is the minority partner in Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s coalition government, said that Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU was forthcoming and security measures would be stepped up.
Pointing to the case in recent days in which, at the request of the Interior Ministry, he ordered the deployment of military personnel to help catch a murder suspect, Karakachanov said that such cases were a very good example that special forces teams and police should “become acquainted”.
He said that he would propose to the Interior Minister that joint exercises be held so that it would be possible to react if “God forbid, necessary”.
“When we have trained professionals in the military, why should these people not be useful to society,” Karakachanov said.
In various European capitals, following terrorist attacks, military personnel have been deployed on the streets to carry out armed patrols.
Bulgarian law allows the military to be ordered to assist the Interior Ministry.
Karakachanov, whose portfolio as deputy prime minister covers security and defence, said that the military was participating in protection of the country’s border, “and I here I take the opportunity to praise the Bulgarian army servicemen who carry out their duties at the border and do not allow the entry into the country of illegal immigrants”.
The military also assisted in extinguishing fires and coping with floods, he said.
Karakchanov also called for tightening measures against “Roma crime”, saying that real steps were needed to eliminate the problem of illiteracy among Roma people. This was the only way to integrate minorities, he said.
“Illiteracy in this community is enormous. 206 000 children in Bulgaria, most of whom are gypsies, aged seven to 18, are illiterate.
“Even if we have to make this education compulsory, I don’t care, if you missed 16 years, you should go back to school and learn,” Karakachanov said.
One of the main problems is the study of Bulgarian, he said.
“You cannot integrate into society when you do not know how to write and speak Bulgarian.
“What rights are you talking about, when you cannot find a job in a normal company or business when you do not have a command of the language of the majority – you cannot write and read,” Karakachanov said.
He said that it was high time not to look at these matters “on one side, on a purely ethnic level, and on the other, to stop looking at them as some problem about which someone in Brussels would shout at us”.