Bulgaria’s government: Claims of unprecedented migrant flows, assaults by foreigners, are fake news

Bulgaria’s government dismissed on March 12 as fake news the claims of an unprecedented migrant flow, foreigners assaulting people on the streets of Sofia and that the state does not provide protection for citizens.

The government said that as the European Parliament elections approach, the public discourse of certain politicians on the subject of “migrants” is intensifying, in sync with the Kremlin’s “refugee crisis” narrative that is spreading across Europe.

“Bulgarian parties that want to divert our country from its European path and standard of living continue to abuse people’s fears and instill hatred and insecurity through fake news and insinuations – this time about a non-existent ‘criminal migrant crisis’,” said the statement, the latest in a series by the Bulgarian government intended to combat disinformation.

Bulgaria does not have an “unprecedented migrant flow”,” the statement said.

As of March 11 2024, a total of 192 persons have been returned from all EU member states in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, which Bulgaria has followed since 2007.

From 2007 until today, there have been regular flights on agreed migrant transfers, and in all these years of the requested transfers actually implemented are no more than 20 per cent, the statement said.

The capacity of the refugee centres under the State Agency for Refugees is 3572 accommodation places. At the moment, only 43 per cent of the capacity is filled, it said.

The statement said in the past week, there were two unrelated criminal incidents involving foreign nationals.

In one case, it turned out that the two groups that fought in the centre of Sofia knew each other, and the conflict was over a girl, and in the other, minor Bulgarians attacked British medical students of Pakistani origin. According to the Interior Ministry, the purpose was robbery, not a racially motivated crime.

“Thus, a domestic incident and another in which foreign citizens were injured became the occasion for an organised action under the title ‘migrants out’ and a protest with the participation of politicians and MEPs.

In all of 2023, the crimes committed by foreign citizens in Bulgaria added up to 287, and by Bulgarians – 4345. By comparison, 10 years earlier, in 2013, the ratio was 285 to 10 221.

The country continues to improve its efforts to protect its citizens, the government said.

In Sofia, the capital’s mayor Vassil Terziev introduced new preventive measures – the presence of the Municipal Police in the pedestrian zones has been increased, the statement said.

In recent months, Sofia municipality began to restore video surveillance in the city, which had been without maintenance for 10 months, and over 400 cameras did not work at all.

“The Ministry of the Interior continues to make every effort to maintain public order and protect citizens from crime.”

“Instilling fear, panic and uncertainty in citizens is a characteristic approach of dictatorial regimes such as the Kremlin,” the government said.

“The predictions of ‘chaos and ruin’ that flooded the public environment in 2022 and 2023 never came true. We urge citizens not to be swayed by the new false political narrative of ‘thousands of criminal migrants’ roaming the streets,” the statement said.

(Photo: government.bg)

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