Bulgaria to Accept 852 Migrants Under 1st Stage of EU Quota Plan

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | September 23, 2015, Wednesday // 07:48
Bulgaria: Bulgaria to Accept 852 Migrants Under 1st Stage of EU Quota Plan A member of the Hungarian Red Cross gives water to a migrant who arrived by train from Tovarnik, Croatia, at the railway station in Zakany, 230 kms southwest of Budapest, Hungary, September 22, 2015. EPA/BGNES

As many as 852 migrants will be immediately relocated to Bulgaria under the first phase of a EU quota scheme approved by a majority of EU's interior ministers on Wednesday.

Of these, 201 will be relocated from Italy, and 651 will come from Greece, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) has said.

Tuesday's numbers mean that, after receiving the migrants, it will be a temporary home to 1352 people from the Middle East, most of them thought to have fled the war in Syria.

Being "frontline states", Italy and Greece have so far been the most affected EU members, whereas Greece's neighbor Bulgaria has been boasting effective control of its borders with Greece and, in particular, Turkey.

Thousands of migrants, however, have successfully entered Bulgaria without being registered over the past year to avoid possible deportation from Germany (their most likely destination) or another Western country. various sources have been suggesting.

Hungary, another EU member which has been severely affected by the migrant influx, will not be among the "source countries" for now but might take part in a later relocation scheme. Hungary was also among the four countries opposing the scheme alongside the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Romania.

Poland (another Visegrad Group member from Central Europe like the former three), which had for a long time resisted quotas, backed the move.

EU ministers are now also expected to discuss amendments to the Dublin Regulation.

For Bulgaria, the total number of migrants allocated is 1600, but figures under a second phase are yet to be announced.

The ministers' decision envisages the prompt relocation of 15 600 people from Italy and 50 400 from Greece. A second phase will take place at least after a year.

Thursday's meeting transpired in view of the Wednesday EU Summit, where member states' leaders are intending to announce all decision reached on tackling the migrant crisis.

There have been 480 000 migrants to Europe in since January of this year, with thousands of people from the Middle East and North Africa reaching the continent every day.

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Tags: EU, Italy, greece, Bulgaria, migrants, Syria, quotas, Hungary
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