Germany Sends 3000 Asylum Seekers Back to Bulgaria
Nearly 3000 people are to return to Bulgaria from Germany, authorities in Berlin have warned.
Most of those to be sent back here have been granted either humanitarian or refugee status, but some of them have managed to illegally cross Bulgaria's borders and reach Western Europe, State Agency for Refugees (DAB) chief Nikolay Chirpanliev told Bulgarian daily Sega.
Chirpanliev cited a letter from the German government received last week.
He described the notice as "an unpleasant surprise" coming to Bulgarian authorities, who have repeatedly argued other EU member states should accept more significant part of the asylum seekers' influx from Syria, Iraq and other conflict-torn states.
Thousands have arrived to Bulgaria over the past months from Middle Eastern, but also from African countries (some of them claiming they are Syrians displaced by the ongoing civil war) via Turkey.
DAB's head Chirpanliev called on EU countries to consider amendments to the Dublin regulation on asylum seekers, which in his view is being applied "in geographic rather than in economic terms".
Each country should take in a portion of immigrants corresponding to its gross domestic product (GDP), he suggested.
Under current rules, a refugee registered in Bulgaria who chooses to move to another EU country is to be sent back.
Sofia has long hoped that rules would be changed and has lately sped up procedures granting humanitarian status.
Another reason for procedures to be running at a faster pace is a nearly doubled number of asylum seekers coming to Bulgaria over the past two months.
With around 340 status applications received at the DAB during March and roughly the same number in April, May and June saw a twofold increase with approximately 645 newly-registered.