Bulgaria's PM Calls for EU Solidarity on Refugee Relocation Quotas
Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has called on eastern European member states of the EU opposing the bloc’s quotas for relocation of refugees to share the burden with their richer partners in western Europe.
In an interview with AFP published on Thursday, Borisov linked acceptance of the quota scheme put forward by the European Commission to aid provided to poorer EU Member States through EU funds.
"When taxpayers (in richer European countries) give money for European solidarity, we are happy. When, however, they have a problem – because the migrant flow is mainly headed there – then, in my view, we also have to show solidarity and mutual aid," AFP quoted Borisov as saying.
Several countries in central and eastern Europe like Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have rejected the relocation quotas assigned to them. Hungary also lashed out at a proposal by the European Commission to impose fines of EUR 250,000 per refugee to EU member states who refuse to take in their quotas of asylum seekers.
Bulgaria has confirmed that it would accept its quota of 1,200 refugees but only two Iraqi refugees have agreed to be relocated to the country from other EU Member States. One of them has already slipped out of the country, AFP noted.
Bulgaria was spared the massive influx of migrants and refugees, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, transiting the countries of the Western Balkans and Hungary last year to seek asylum in richer EU Member States like Germany and Sweden. However, concerns have mounted about a possible increase in migration pressure at Bulgarian borders with Greece and Turkey after the closure of the Western Balkan route to migrants in March.
"The migrants do not want to stay in Bulgaria. They want Sweden, Luxembourg, Switzerland. Do we need to build a prison to keep them here by force?" Borisov asked in the interview with AFP.
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