Bulgarian Deputy PM Calls for Sanctions on Migrants Refusing Integration

Domestic | January 12, 2015, Monday // 20:20|  views

Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva. Photo BGNES

Bulgaria should impose penalties on refugees on its territory refusing to send their children to school or take up the jobs offered to them, Deputy Prime Minister Meglena Kuneva said on Monday.

“If the refugees want to take advantage of all rights granted to them by Bulgarian law, then they must meet fulfil obligations as well,” Kuneva has said, according to BTA news agency.

With its refugee centres currently full at 61% of capacity Bulgaria remains under pressure from the ongoing influx of illegal migrants at its border with Turkey, which has nearly doubled over the past year, Kuneva said.

About 7,000 refugees are currently sheltered in accommodation centres in Bulgaria.

Another Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister, Ivaylo kalfin, said earlier on Monday the government should avoid creating "ghettos" populated by unemployed people with no income, since such people are prone to getting involved in radical activities.

The European Commission should acknowledge Bulgaria’s efforts to secure EU’s external borders in its upcoming report on progress in judicial reform under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism , she added.

“When we speak of about security, Bulgaria could not be left out of Schengen,” the deputy premier said, referring to the EU’s borderless zone which Bulgaria is aiming to join.

The European Commission should stop tying a potential decision to admit Bulgaria into the Schengen zone from the conclusions in the new monitoring report, Kuneva said.

According to Radan Kanev, co-leader of junior coalition partner Reformist Bloc, Bulgaria’s failure to reform its graft-prone judiciary could result in a negative report from the EU’s executive body, further delaying Bulgaria membership of the Schengen zone.

Kuneva also said it would submit for discussion a plan for the coordination of the activities of several ministries in guarding Bulgaria’s borders.

Security at the borders, particularly the border with Turkey, has become a hot topic in recent weeks in Bulgaria after a border police officer died when his truck slid into a ravine. The accident was blamed on outdated patrol vehicles and the lack of enough border police staff to tackle the increased number of illegal migrants trying to cross the border.  

Following the accident, Interior Minister Veselin Vuchkov suggested the use of Bulgarian army units to help border police cope with the refugee influx.

Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev has rejected the idea but Vice-President Margarita Popova said on Monday the army should help the Interior Ministry patrol the border with Turkey by deploying troops there.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Kuneva, Kalfin, Popova, European Commission, refugees, influx, Kanev, migrants, border, turkey, Schengen


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