Tasking Defense Ministry with Guarding Bulgaria’s Border 'Deemed Unthinkable'

Domestic | January 5, 2015, Monday // 11:38|  views

Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev (R) and Miho Mihov (L) prior to a December 11 meeting of the parliamentary defense committee, photo by BGNES

The problem with migration is Bulgaria is systemic, not sporadic, according to Gen Miho Mihov, Chair of the parliamentary defense committee and MP from the ABV Movement (Alternative for Bulgarian Revival).

In a Monday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Gen Mihov claimed that there was no enduring continuity in the country’s security and defense policy.

He argued that Bulgaria needed subordination and not so much coordination, meaning that the responsibilities of each unit had to be clearly defined.

His comments come ahead of a meeting which Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva called with the interior and defense ministries' heads, Veselin Vuchkov and Nikolay Nenchev. The ministers are set to discuss measures to tackle a prospective flow of asylum seekers that Kuneva and other officials say is likely this spring.

Mihov said that Bulgaria was struggling to find the right political course which determined its national security system.

He also described as "unthinkable" Vuchkov's proposal that the army provide as many as 500 troops to patrol along the border together with police officers. The Interior Minister also considers extending the border fence with Turkey a short-term priority, a matter which would require additional involvement from the ministry.

Mihov for his part argued that neither the Foreign Ministry nor the remaining part of the public administration were prepared to handle the problem, adding that it was absurd to suggest that the Interior Ministry could hand over the responsibility of guarding the border to the Defense Ministry.

Mihov claimed that such a move was unthinkable and insisted that the Border Police unit was best equipped to guard the border and the job was a responsibility of the Interior Ministry, while the Defense Ministry was to help with the logistics. He was adamant that measures such as the construction of border fence facilities which had previously existed and the spending of extra funding were hardly likely to solve the problem.

Despite initially backing the idea, Kuneva is now quoted by daily Sega as saying that "the Defense Ministry is not guarding the border, this cannot happen".

The outlet also cites Defense Ministry sources, in whose words the move would be "unacceptable", since piling up troops at the border might be interpreted by Turkey as an act of military aggression.

As for Mihov, he believes anti-integrationist attitudes in Bulgaria would sooner or later be reconsidered because, in his words, residents of the Middle East and Africa would be looking for new living space was a lasting trend.


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Tags: Miho Mihov, Defense Ministry, Border Police, interior ministry, refugee influx


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