Bulgaria Mulls Refusing Entry of RefugeesDefense | October 21, 2013, Monday // 14:17| views
Bulgarian Defense Minister, Angel Naydenov, said the country will start to refuse entry of refugees crossing the border illegally. Photo by BGNES
The Bulgarian State is about to undertake very serious measures in the direction of a clampdown at the southern border, stated the Minister of Defense Angel Naydenov.
The measures include sending back refugees trying to enter the Bulgarian territory from Turkey or, at least, redirecting them to regular border crossing checkpoints.
Naydenov spoke for the media after Monday's extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers to debate the issue of the refugee wave in the country, caused by the Syrian conflict.
He added that the army is starting to urgently restore roads and approaches to areas where additional special border monitoring equipment will be installed.
"The repairs will involve about 107 km roads, which are either direct or along the "green border" with Turkey," said Naydenov.
The second set of measures is associated with the acceleration of the procedure for obtaining asylum status.
"We have made an assessment of 10 military areas in which we can provide 20 accommodation buildings for between 1,000 to 2,000 refugees. These military areas are mainly in Northern Bulgaria," said Naydenov.
Bulgaria has the capacity to accommodate about 5,000, while over 6,500 refugees have arrived in the country since the beginning of 2013, with local authorities expecting the number to exceed 11,000 by the end of the year.
The total capacity of 3,740 in the shelters under the authority of the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for Refugees has been exceeded by 207 beds. The Agency is working on easing the red tape and shortening the procedure to grant asylum status of foreigners in Bulgaria.
Security at border has been upped by border police from other parts of the country. Additional staff to process documents has been sent as well. The country is also considering building a wire fence on the Turkish border.
Bulgaria is the gateway to the European Union for refugees fleeing Syria via Turkey, many crossing the border illegally to seek asylum.
The country has asked and will receive EU aid in order to deal with the ongoing refugee influx.
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