Influx to Bulgaria not Expected over Macedonia Tensions - Officials

Society | May 18, 2015, Monday // 10:15|  views

Macedonia's recent street protests should not prompt fears of a migrant influx, the State Refugee Agency of Bulgaria believes. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria authorities consider a flow of asylum seekers from neighboring Macedonia unlikely, State Refugee Agency (DAB) head Nikola Kazakov has said.

Kazakov told private national bTV station on Monday, after a protest in Macedonia's capital Skopje attended by tens of thousands of people, that Turkey, and not Macedonia, will remain the biggest source of migrants trying to cross into Bulgaria in 2015.

In his words, the first quarter of 2015 saw an increased influx of migrants compared to the same period in 2014. Between January and April of last year, 2200 people crossed into Bulgaria seeking asylum, while this year the number so far is 4500.

He cited DAB estimates according to which some 11 000 people will come to Bulgaria fleeing conflicts in other countries.

Though he warned the figure was likely to rise, another scenario - the implementation of a migrant quota system across the EU - could reduce pressure on Bulgaria's southeastern border. `

EU member states are so far unable to agree on adopting quotas tied to their population and their gross domestic output. Some countries, like France, Spain, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, are staunchly against.

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Tags: macedonia, Nikola Kazakov, turkey, Bulgaria, State Refugee Agency


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