Bulgaria to Ask EU for Refugee Integration Aid
Bulgaria will demand that EU funds be allocated for the integration of people which have been granted refugee status, the State Agency for Refugees announced.
At a press conference summarizing activity under the European Refugee Fund, its representatives also said the agency was working on an integration strategy which would be presented to EU institutions, but the number of refugees it should comprise is yet unclear, as part of the migrants who gain a refugee status leave the country, heading to other EU member states.
Agency officials added it had managed to absorb 98% of BGN 13 M (EUR 6.5 M) granted by the fund, out of which 11 M came directly from the fund and the rest was from the national budget.
Around a quarter of those who become refugees wish to stay in Bulgaria, the agency's head, Nikolay Chirpanliev, was quoted by Dnevnik.bg as saying.
He pointed recent developments in the Bulgarian village of Rozovo, where three Syrian families with 6 children were expelled by locals in end-April, as an example of lacking institutional support for those who have already received refugee status.
Rozovo's residents claimed the Syrians had no place in their village, which was only for "Bulgarians". even though the newcomers had paid a rent for their stay in a private house.
The new strategy for dealing with migrants who have been granted status is expected to be introduced to the Council of Ministers after the European elections.
In 2013, the last such document which was also used the previous two years, included a "package of measures" for new refugees: one-time aid for the issuing of an ID card, financing for accommodation and everyday costs, health insurance, classes in Bulgarian, social and cultural orientation and personal professional training.
Unlike in the provisions of this last strategy, however, the State Agency for Refugees was clear on Saturday that it will not take any similar responsibilities under the new framework.
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