Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov is moving the country quickly into the front of EU states who oppose the EU’s present border and migration policies. Speaking ahead of today’s meeting of EU leaders on migration and asylum, the PM said that Bulgaria had, through its own efforts, shown that it could cope with the whole slew of pressures brought on about by the refugee crisis.
Borissov expressed satisfaction with the results that Bulgaria had achieved thus far, in protecting itself and EU’s external border. Credit was given to Bulgaria’s Border Police and Frontex. It was also emphasized that such a result would not have been possible without an agreement with Turkey.
He expressed with a clarity all too often missing from the ruling EU establishment, that both EU countries and Western Balkan countries should be protected, and Bulgaria has with its policy.
Borissov explained the undue hardship Bulgarians have bore, having nothing to do with the refugee crisis. NATO has reiterated that it has no active missions in the middle-east as well. Borissov put to the summit the following proposal, that the EU immediately close their EU borders, with crossing being permitted at official border points only. He also called for the relocation of migrants who have already previously made the trip into the EU, and explained that this was possible through the active implementation of agreements with third party countries.
He explained that as Bulgaria holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, he wanted the member states to agree on this pressing migration issue.
Bulgaria is a front-line country, meaning as well that it is the first point of entry from a non-EU state that a migrant arrives from. Bulgaria’s situation is identical to that of Greece, Italy, and Spain, who all suffer under the EU’s push for migrants to return to the front-line EU countries where they first were registered. Borissov explained that the situation would only be aggravated in those countries on the front-line, giving them two kinds of responsibilities; border protection and care for the refugees on their own territory.
Borissov spoke by phone with Viktor Obran, his Hungarian counterpart just two days previously in order to brief him on what Bulgaria’s position would be come the June 24th meeting.
The Bulgarian PM underscored his calls for the immediate closure of the external borders of the EU and the strict enforcement and checks on those entering into the EU. Borissov also said that such a move would require that front-line countries such as Bulgaria would urgently require aid such as funding, equipment, and the increased presence of Frontex.
As an alternative to the status quo, Borissov envisions refugee reception centers set up not within the EU, but outside of it. Here there will be a process to determine who are and who aren’t genuine refugees. As part of this proposal, the EU should provide the kind of technical and financial support to these non EU countries where the centers were set up.
The migrants found not in need of protection should be returned to their country of origin, or barring that, the last safe third country they passed through prior to EU entry. In order to achieve such, a diplomatic question would also have to be addressed. Turkey in the past has used precisely this issue to black-mail Germany.
Borissov also wants an analysis of the flows of migrants who have already arrived in Europe.
Orban backed Borissov on the call for border closure, the setting up of migrant centers.