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Thursday 26 April 2018

EU must offer more help to Bulgaria over migrants, says Juncker

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants help for Bulgaria (AP)
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wants help for Bulgaria (AP)

The European Commission president has appealed for reinforcements to be sent to Bulgaria's border to help manage migrant arrivals from Turkey.

Jean-Claude Juncker told EU chiefs that he wants "to see at least 200 extra border guards and 50 extra vehicles deployed at the Bulgarian external borders as of October".

He also appealed to member countries to get the EU's new border and coast guard agency up and running as soon as possible.

Earlier, Hungary's anti-migration prime minister said the future of the EU "will be decided at Bulgaria's border with Turkey, not in Brussels" as he urged the bloc to provide more money to help boost border defence.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Bulgarian counterpart Boiko Borisov inspected a fence topped with razor wire in the Bulgarian border village of Lesovo on Wednesday, part of a route used by migrants trying to enter the EU.

Mr Orban said that "Bulgaria's successful defence is in the common interest of all of us".

Mr Borisov, who is seeking immediate assistance of 160 million euro (£136 million) from the EU to bolster Bulgaria's border security, said that "without joint efforts by all EU states, a lasting solution cannot be found".


A Serbian government minister said the Balkan country should consider applying "more drastic" measures, including border barriers, to reduce the number of migrants entering the country.

Labour minister Aleksandar Vulin said that Serbia must avoid becoming "overcrowded" with stranded migrants who cannot move on toward the European Union.

Mr Vulin says they are mostly so-called economic migrants, who fled their native countries in search of a better future in the EU, but stand little chance of being granted asylum in the bloc.

He said: "It may be time to propose some more drastic measures which would substantially reduce the influx of migrants."

He added that "perhaps barriers, or at least setting up some obstacles, could be one of the solutions".

Nearly 5,000 migrants are currently in Serbia.


Press Association

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