Refugee centres in Bulgaria ‘almost empty’ – report

Refugee centres in Bulgaria are almost empty and there has been a significant decline in applications for protection, Bulgarian National Television said on July 21.

The figures, from the State Agency for Refugees, emerged a day after Bulgaria’s National Assembly approved an all-party resolution barring the government from signing bilateral agreements on the return of refugees without the consent of Parliament.

Parliament also voted to call on the government to present a position on a common EU policy on migration, giving it until September 30 2018 to present a Bulgarian proposal for reforming the Dublin Agreement on the return of refugees.

According to Bulgarian National Television, the current situation at refugee centres is markedly different from 2015 and 2016. At the Ovcha Kupel centre, it was noticeable that even the security presence was much reduced. This was in contrast to 2016, when there were protests from people in the neighbourhood because of problems with refugees.

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(Archive photo, from 2014: Ben Melrose/V Photo Agency)