Bulgaria's Interior Minister: Refugee Flow Problem under Control
Bulgaria's prosecuting authority has initiated pre-trial proceedings over suspicious refugee spending by the previous government, according to Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Yovchev criticized the previous government for failing to take steps which had been necessary to get the migration problem under control at an initial stage.
"In 2012, a total of BGN 200 000 was earmarked for the establishment of a tent camp for 1000 people near Harmanli, but it is hard to say what exactly they were used for because we found a weedy lawn, with no electricity, running water or sewerage system. This is reflected in documents, the prosecuting authority has opened pre-trial proceedings," Bulgaria's Interior Minister said, as cited by the BGNES news agency.
He argued that a large part of some 114 documents sent by the National Investigative Service, the Defence Information Service, and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) mentioned the risk of a refugee wave.
"Despite that, no sitting of the Council of Ministers on that topic was held in 2012 and the Consultative Council on National Security (KSNS) was not summoned," Yovchev pointed out.
He emphasized that as a director of the cabinet of President Rosen Plevneliev he had repeatedly advised him to schedule a KSNS sitting.
Yovchev also claimed that Bulgaria had failed to present the problem to EU institutions adequately, as a result of which it had been allocated substantially smaller amounts of funding for dealing with migration flows compared to Greece and Italy.
He insisted, however, that the main risks for the country stemming from a wave of migrants had been contained.
On Wednesday, Bulgaria's government reviewed a report on the measures taken to get the refugee crisis under control.
Yovchev boasted progress in the sphere and vowed better results very soon.
He informed that 85% of the measures listed in the plan had been implemented, 4 activities were being implemented and 15 were to be completed by March 31, 2014.
Bulgaria's Interior Minister claimed that the crisis which arose as a result of the increased migratory pressure would be successfully dealt with after the adoption of all measures listed in the plan.
He said that the processing capacity of the State Agency for Refugees had increased substantially, adding that a total of 883 decisions on status applications had been adopted in January 2014, which was over 4 times the amount of decisions for the entire 2012.
"As a result of the measures, only 140 people crossed Bulgaria's border illegally in January," the Interior Minister stressed.
He announced that a total of 4060 people were accommodated at all refugee centers in the country, adding that the authorities were still struggling to ensure normal living conditions at the sites in Sofia's districts of Vrazhdebna and Voenna Rampa. The Interior Minister expressed hopes that repair works at the two most problematic sites would be wrapped up in 2-3 months.
Yovchev said that regular food supplies had been guaranteed and that medical specialists would be dispatched to the refugee centers as of April, thereby eliminating the need for the assistance of Doctors without Borders.
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"Suspicious refugee spending".................Really Yovchev? Blaming the previous government to deflect the heat off the current Refugee situation and the Regime's suspicious refugee spending at the moment. I cannot see any timely improvements happening or in effect or that any of you have excelled in any way. You are miles away from having the situation "under control" as you proclaim arrogantly. Don't throw stones on glass houses Minister!