Bulgaria Faced with Syrian Refugee Crisis, EU Admits
As the numbers of Syrians fleeing violence in their homeland and heading for Bulgaria is increasing, the European Commission has finally acknowledged that the situation amounts to a refugee crisis.
"I expect that Bulgaria's request for financial assistance from EU in order to deal with the wave of Syrian refugees will be approved from the Commission soon“, said Interior minister Tsvetlin Yovchev on Monday.
Previously the European Union had turned down Bulgaria's request for aid, but since Brussels now officially admits to a "refugee crisis“ in Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus, it is much more likely that the requested aid will be approved, local observers say.
The classification of the Syrian refugee wave as „crisis“ is an important step toward aid approval, because such approval depends on whether the current refugee situation is considered by EU officials as a crisis“, or no, explained Minister Yovchev.
"Requesting aid is possible only if the situation is an emergent one and we are getting closer to an emergency“, added the minister.
"We have filed all the necessary documents in order to get approval for our aid request. We expect EC representatives to visit Bulgaria at the beginning of October to assess the situation and decide whether Bulgaria qualifies for aid, or not," pointed out Yovchev.
Bulgaria counts on assistance from the European Asylum Support Office and FRONTEX for coping with the humanitarian situation and achieving better surveillance of the border.
"Bulgaria could receive EUR 4 M in financial aid from the European Asylum Support Office and EUR 9 M from FRONTEX”, explained Yovchev.
Bulgaria, which shares a border with Turkey, may have to provide shelter for as many as 10,000 Syrians by year end.
Bulgarian refugee centers are full and the government is looking for additional locations to accommodate a rise in people illegally crossing the border with Turkey.
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