Bulgaria Border Security System 'Out of Service over Unpaid Electricity Bills'
State-of-the art border monitoring equipment has been installed at the Bulgarian-Turkish border but it is "out of service. Police have no money for electricity," German magazine Der Spiegel's website notes.
Citing official documents, it also suggests the number of people crossing Bulgaria's border without being caught might be "enormous".
Border police in the EU's poorest member state have detained some 6600 people crossing into the country, according to official statistics. Bulgaria is used by migrants to make it into the EU, despite the fact that Bulgaria has not yet faced migrant influx comparable to neighboring Greece and Macedonia.
Der Spiegel recalls the words of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who asserted some years ago "the Europeans can sleep calm".
However, promises have been overshadowed by reality, with reports provided by German security authorities suggesting border equipment has been defunct for some time.
Infrared body heat sensors, movement detectors are out of service because "the Bulgarian Interior Ministry cannot pay the electricity anymore," the text claims.
More than half of all patrol vehicles are unused due to lack of maintenance due to the "disastrous budgetary situation" in Bulgaria which has repercussions on border security amid the migrant crisis, Der Spiegel quotes the report as saying.
The article also cites occasional warnings from organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which say Bulgarian border police tend to push asylum seekers back into Turkey.
Smugglers become easily aware of weaknesses in border security, and "in the case of Bulgaria these are currently blatant", the report adds.
- » 'Bulgaria Phone Scammers Rob, Blackmail Elderly'
- » NY Times: Bulgaria Grows Uneasy as Trump Complicates Ties to Russia
- » NY Times: As Support for EU Flags Elsewhere, Bulgaria Sees Its Benefits
- » DW: German Businesses Prefer Trade with Bulgaria over Investment
- » The Economist: Bulgaria, Moldova Presidents 'Less Pro-Russian Than Advertised'
- » AFP: Bulgaria's Radev 'Struck a Chord by Attacking the Status Quo'