Bulgaria Might Build 'Crisis Migrant Centers' Outside Urban Areas

Society | September 20, 2016, Tuesday // 11:19|  views

File photo, BGNES

New crisis accommodation centers restricting the movement of residents might be set up outside towns and cities, a deputy interior minister has indicated.

"Crisis centers will be temporary and we will do our best so that they are out of towns and cities and restrict movement of residents," Philip Gounev has said at a roundtable on the migration crisis organized by CITUB, one of Bulgaria's biggest trade unions.

Gounev has made clear that the expansion of the Harmanli center will go hand in hand with the establishment of smaller, restricted type facilities which do not allow their residents to move freely out of or into them. The idea is to make sure "the number of people circulating freely will be reduced", he has noted, as locals have been complaining of noise, violent incidents, and other issues blamed on some of the migrants.

Gunev, however, has also argued migratory pressure has been steadily decreasing, having been 30% weaker since the year began, compared to the same period of last year.

State refugee agency (DAB) head Petya Parvanova has added that her institution ponders the reinstatement of old rules that allowed migrants to look for work three (and not six) months after having been registered to avoid keeping them "idle" and without any source of income.

VMRO, a nationalist party that takes part in the Patriotic Coalition (which backs the minority government of Bulgaria), last week called for all accommodation centers inhabited by protection candidates to be moved out of urban areas and turned into restricted movement facilities.

Its call followed a series of incidents in areas of such centers around Bulgaria. In one of them, located in Harmanli (southern Bulgaria), a mass brawl resulted in several people being injured. Incidents in another one, based in a Sofia neighborhood, triggered protests over the weekend.

At the end of August, Bulgaria's cabinet adopted legal changes that allowed the introduction of a restricted movement mode in some of the centers.

However, it stopped short of considering a change in status of all accommodation centers.

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Tags: Philip Gounev, accommodation center, migrants, migrant crisis


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