Bulgarian Interior Minister Rules out Closing Borders for Refugees
Closing borders over fears of a possible refugee wave from Syria is an extreme measure, according to Bulgarian Interior Minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev.
He stressed Bulgaria is prepared for such move if needed, but currently the issue is not on the table.
On Wednesday, after the regularly-scheduled government meeting, Yovchev reported that Bulgaria has secured another 350 beds for refugees.
He explained the new 350 beds will solve the initial problem, stressing the government is continuing to seek ways to accommodate all refugees who will potentially reach the country.
The Minister informed about preparations to open in just days two new refugee shelters.
Emergency headquarters for refugees are functioning in the southern city of Haskovo and the southern town of Elhovo.
The one in Haskovo is in charge of accommodating the refugees.
"We are ready to accept a larger number of asylum-seekers if such situation arises. All needed measures are in place," Yovchev pledged.
He explained the European Commission had promised technical assistance and had given assurances it was seeking ways to find funds as well for direct financial help.
"Bulgaria can count on European Solidarity," stressed the Minister, adding his institution is working on preparing joint meetings on the issue with Syrian refugee wave with the Interior Ministries of Greece and Turkey, while the State Refugee Agency is securing translators.
Yovchev pointed out foreigners, who cross the border illegally, are committing a crime and the law requires for them to be arrested. He also said that the legal deadline for granting asylum in Bulgaria is 6 months, but it has been reduced to 3 in an effort to speed up the procedure.
According to him, taking care of 10 000 refugees requires over BGN 10 M.
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