Interior Minister: Refugee Wave Is Challenge for Bulgaria
The European Union is fully aware of the seriousness of Bulgaria's problem with the refugee influx, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev said Wednesday.
Yovchev spoke during a hearing with the parliamentary committee on internal affairs. The State Refugee Agency also provided information on the situation.
On Tuesday, he participated in the sitting of the EU Council on Home Affairs and announced in the aftermath that the EU will provide direct aid to Bulgaria in its efforts to deal with the ongoing refugee issue.
"We should not expect a fast solution of the Syrian conflict. The refugee wave will continue for a relatively long period of time. The crisis might extend to other countries that are Syria's neighbors. Bulgaria and the EU are facing a critical situation. We can deal with it, but as a single country, there will be a point when all capacity will be exhausted," said the Minister.
He explained the EU was considering working on a common policy with the possibility to relocate refugees from one country to another.
"The problem is not the security on Bulgarian borders, but what happens after they are crossed. We are not prepared as Bulgaria had not faced such crisis in 90 years. This is a challenge for our nation. We must unite our efforts and forget political bias," said Yovchev.
He confirmed the presence of a slight (10%) increase of crime rate in the country, but rejected claims it could be attributed to the increased number of asylum seekers. The Minister noted that, to the contrary, there was a decline in crimes committed by Syrian nationals.
Yovchev listed among measures undertaken by his institution increased police presence in areas with concentration of refugees - near refugee shelters; talks with local security companies to provide assistance, and good partnership with Sofia's municipal police.
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