Bulgaria's VP-Elect Sparks New Row over Migrant Reception Centers

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | December 5, 2016, Monday // 09:57
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's VP-Elect Sparks New Row over Migrant Reception Centers File photo, EPA/BGNES

The Bulgarian government took on a commitment to build three new migrant reception centers in return for the financal assistance it secured during the autumn, Vice President-elect Iliana Iotova has said.

Iotova, who served as MEP prior to her election, has told bTV station that an inquiry made by her during her European Parliament term reveals Bulgaria will not receive the EUR 160 M requested by the country.

The assistance Bulgaria will get is to the tune of EUR 101 M, with national co-funding making up some 10%, she has argued.

Of these, EUR 18.9 M are earmarked for the construction of three migrant centers allowing free movement of residents, the Vice President-elect has said, raising her concerns  that the deal, secured by the outgoing government of Boyko Borisov, may result hard for a next elected cabinet to comply with.

The construction of new centers has been a divisive issue as an increasing number of migrants have been left trapped within Bulgaria's boundaries since the Western Balkans route was closed in the spring.

Outgoing Prime Minister Boyko Borisov was promised a EUR 160 M package from Brussels that would be allocated to stepping up border security.

With the recent riots in the reception center near the town of Harmanli, however, the socialist party (an opposition to the outgoing government) and nationalists began warning against the threat of mismanagement of the migrant crisis on behalf of the outgoing administration.

After the developments in Harmanli, authorities made it clear they would act to restrict movement into or out of the existing facilities for some residents.

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Tags: Iliana Iotova, Boyko Borisov, migrant crisis
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