Tuesday

17th Sep 2019

Bulgaria sends soldiers to Turkey border

  • The European Commission says external border control is the competences of the national governments. (Photo: 7armyjmtc)

Bulgaria is preparing to send up to 1,000 soldiers to beef up security on its 259-kilometre land border with Turkey, the government said Thursday (17 September).

“Today we shall probably send more than 50 additional troops. We are ready to increase them to 160 within the day,” defence minister Nikolai Nenchev told press.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

“The total number of military the ministry is ready to help border police with is 1,000”.

The announcement follows reports that columns of Syrian migrants are walking from Istanbul to Edirne, on the western side of the Bosphorus, where Turkey borders Bulgaria.

Georgi Kostov, a senior Bulgarian interior ministry official, said about 700 people tried to cross from Turkey to Bulgaria in the past 24 hours.

Border police arrested 34 of them and the rest went back. Police arrested another 39 people trying to cross from Bulgaria to Serbia en route to western Europe.

“Our steps should be interpreted only as a move to support our Turkish colleagues in their efforts [to enforce border rules]”, Kostov added.

“We have the forces to tackle the migration pressure. And the fact that Bulgaria isn’t the preferred route of the migrants, even though it’s a natural route, speaks volumes about our actions”.

Bulgaria earlier increased border police forces and built a 30-kilometre razor-wire fence on its boundary with Turkey.

It took the action after seeing a 470-percent rise in irregular crossings between mid-2012 and 2014.

The border clampdown prompted refugees, many of whom come from camps in Turkey, to switch their main route to Greece, the Western Balkans, and central Europe.

Turkey currently hosts some 2 million Syrian refugees.

Bulgaria hosts 15,000 refugees, mainly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is the EU’s poorest member state and has a population of 7.2 million, 10 percent of whom are Muslim.

Thursday’s announcement on sending military units to the border comes after similar measures by Austria, Croatia, and Hungary.

The European Commission has declined to comment on the action, saying the measures fall under national competence.

'Migration' is now 'protecting European way of life'

The upcoming European Commission has shuffled migration policy into a euphemistic new "Protecting our European Way of Life" European commissioner portfolio, headed by former spokesman Margartis Schinas. Some MEPs are not happy.

Analysis

Will EU keep paying to keep migrants away?

The EU has made deals with several countries, such as Libya, Turkey, and Niger, to keep asylum seekers far away from Europe. Now it is planning to relocate some migrants to Rwanda, in response to the Libya migration crisis.

EU-Turkey migrant deal under pressure

Germany's chancellor says she is contact with Turkey over an EU deal to stop refugees from landing on Greek islands. But the arrival of over 500 in one day, amid grim conditions, piles on pressure.

News in Brief

  1. Apple and Ireland appeal €13bn EU tax ruling
  2. UK PM should provide witness statement, court told
  3. Italy's ex-PM Renzi quits ruling Democratic Party
  4. German top lawmaker scolds Bettel over Johnson snub
  5. Greens decide on Tuesday on talks on Five Star joining
  6. Belgian mayors give Juncker a tongue-lashing
  7. Von der Leyen defends 'way of life' slogan
  8. Court hears case on UK's pre-Brexit parliament shutdown

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  2. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing
  3. Trumpworld In Europe
  4. How EU firms and banks help fund Amazon fires
  5. Amazon fires mean EP must rethink Mercosur trade deal
  6. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin
  7. EU divided on how to protect rule of law
  8. Nordic region to become world's most sustainable and integrated

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us