The prime ministers of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic agree that the Dublin Regulation – the EU law that determines which EU country is responsible for dealing with applications by asylum seekers – is not working properly and should be amended.
This emerged after talks in Sofia on January 22 between Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babiš.
Babiš said that he was glad that Bulgaria currently was holder of the EU Presidency, because there were many important and fundamental issues facing Europe, and Bulgaria and the Czech Republic had many views in common on these issues.
The Czech prime minister said that the Dublin Regulation was not working effectively, especially regarding quotas for the allocation of refugees.
Babiš expressed indignation that the agreement on the allocation of refugees had been taken at the level of home affairs ministers, and added that he hoped that the Bulgarian EU Presidency would initiate amendments to the agreement.
Borissov agreed with his Czech counterpart that the Dublin agreement was not working properly. He said that a compromise should be found, so that refugees cross EU borders only at official border checkpoints.
Borissov called for diplomatic means to support the peace process in the countries from which the refugees were coming, so as to be able to enable them to return.
The Bulgarian Prime Minister reiterated his call for the setting up of refugee centres outside the EU, and for the agreement with Turkey to be extended.
The Czech PM said that he wondered why countries like Greece were in the Schengen visa zone, while Bulgaria and Romania were not. His comment came the same day that a European Commission spokesperson said that there was no genuine reason for Bulgaria and Romania not to be in Schengen.