Austrian Attempts to Return Migrants to Bulgaria Hindered by Untraceability

Politics | February 9, 2024, Friday // 16:05
Bulgaria: Austrian Attempts to Return Migrants to Bulgaria Hindered by Untraceability @Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov revealed that Austria's attempts to return migrants to Bulgaria, in accordance with the Dublin Agreement, have encountered substantial difficulties, with the majority of the migrants being untraceable.

Responding to inquiries from "Vazrazhdane" MP Stanislav Stoyanov regarding the number of migrants accepted back to Bulgaria, Prime Minister Denkov disclosed that only 113 migrants have been successfully returned from Austria to Bulgaria thus far under the Dublin Agreement.

The Dublin Agreement mandates that Bulgaria and Romania promptly accept asylum seekers for whom they are responsible. However, despite Austria's requests for the return of refugees, the actual number of transfers has been limited. Prime Minister Denkov noted that, out of 5,731 requests received for the period of January 1 to December 31, 2023, only 194 were actualized, resulting in the return of a mere 113 individuals.

Denkov highlighted the significant challenge posed by the untraceability of migrants, with notices from Austria indicating that 95% of the requested transfers could not be executed within the stipulated six-month period due to the migrants absconding or being unknown to Bulgarian authorities.

The European Council's decision to open Schengen air and sea borders for Bulgarians and Romanians from December 29, 2023, has underscored the need for enhanced border security measures. Frontex, the European border agency, is expected to increase its presence threefold on the Bulgarian-Turkish border and bolster border control between Bulgaria and Romania. Additionally, substantial financial support from the European Commission is anticipated to facilitate the acquisition of off-road vehicles, drones, and electronic surveillance systems to strengthen border monitoring.

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Tags: Austria, migrants, Dublin agreement, border security

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