Bulgaria Demands Deployment of 300 Frontex Staff

Politics » DOMESTIC | August 29, 2016, Monday // 16:21
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Demands Deployment of 300 Frontex Staff Bulgaria's Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova. File photo, BGNES

Sofia has asked the EU's border protection agency Frontext to deploy 300 staff to Bulgaria, an official has announced, pointing the "realistic" number is around 200.

Bulgaria's Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has also said the structure of the migrant inflow in to the country has been changing in the last few months.

Migrants from Afghanistan and Iraq now "substantially prevail" as a share of all people crossing into Bulgaria to seek protection or to reach other EU countries, the minister has explained at a briefing.

"This also changes the behavior of those who cross our borders illegally, their behaviour on the country's territory and our capacities, as a country, to respond to their demands for a status in Bulgaria," Focus News Agency quotes her as saying.

"We cannot allow for a refugee route to be formed via Bulgaria's territory, even if such a development is in our interest," she has added, citing Bulgaria's determination to stick to its EU commitments.

While reiterating that the migratory pressure on Bulgaria has increased over the past months, Bachvarova has made clear a decrease has been observed compared to the summer of 2015.

Bulgaria was not sitting on a major migrant route when the crisis peaked in 2015, but was one of the first EU member states, alongside Greece, to see a surge in migrant arrivals back in 2013.

Since the closure of the so-called Western Balkans route in March, increased smuggling activity via Bulgaria has been reported, with Serbia also warning about hundreds of migrants crossing into the county from its Bulgarian border.

However, amid steps to beef up security at the common border, Serbia has not made moves to send back migrants to reached its land from Bulgaria, Bachvarova has announced.

As of end-July, Afghan migrants who applied for protection already make up the majority of the candidates, with 4442 requests submitted since January 01, 2016.

Iraqis come next with 2832 applications, followed by Syrian (1120), Pakistani (646), and Iranian (169) nationals.

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Tags: Rumyana Bachvarova, migrants, refugees
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