German Report Warns Migrant Inflow 'Being Channelled Through Bulgaria'

Society | May 20, 2016, Friday // 17:42
Bulgaria: German Report Warns Migrant Inflow 'Being Channelled Through Bulgaria' File photo, EPA/BGNES

The inflow of migrants into Europe is increasingly being directed to Bulgaria by smugglers, German mass-circulation daily Bild warns, citing a report by the country's foreign intelligence service.

The text published Friday reads that the development is a result of measures taken in the Aegean to crack down on people smuggling, traffickers increasingly go for land route across the Bulgaria-Turkey border.

A more massive inflow could turn out to be beyond the capabilities of an underfunded and understaffed Bulgarian police, Bild notes.

In an article [DE] titled "Secret Report Bulgaria", Bild reports that security services are warning of a new smuggling route that is now being opened up via Bulgaria.

The BND report cited by Bild suggests that the number of migrants in the country suggests significant shortages in border controls, despite Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova's estimates that entries into the country have dropped by 30% over the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period of last year.

In a previous article on the Bulgarian borders, it has referred to the route used by some migrants who try to cross from Greece as "the new Balkan route".

Earlier this year, Austrian officials told local media that a more intense smugglers activity was being observed in Bulgaria and Hungary as Europe was preparing to strike a deal with Turkey.

Former Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner (who was serving at the time) warned days after th EU-Turkey agreement was reached that a new corridor might be opened up through Bulgaria after the so-called "Western Balkans migrant route" is completely sealed off.

Latest data from the State Agency for Refugees (DAB) shows 5305 people sought protection in Bulgaria in the period between January and April, 1103 of them having done so over the previous month.

In 2015, as many as 20391 protection applications were submitted, but nearly three quarters of proceedings launched on them were terminated as most of the migrants left Bulgaria heading to Western Europe. 

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Tags: Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Rumyana Bachvarova, State Agency Refugees, DAB, BND, Germany, Bild
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