22nd Mar 2018

EU funds for Bulgaria target border security

Around 80 percent of the European Commission's emergency funding to Bulgaria announced earlier this month is slated for border security and surveillance.

A Bulgarian government spokeswoman told this website on Tuesday (27 September) that most of it will go towards financing border surveillance, border guards, and other equipment.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Only like 20 percent of the funding is about increasing the reception facilities. Most of the funding is for equipment and vehicles," she said.

Bulgaria wants the EU to help pay for securing the external borders given budgetary constraints.

The spokeswoman told EUobserver that migrant arrivals were lower than last year but higher now than at the start of 2016.

"We are out of our own resources," she said.

On 15 September, its interior ministry submitted an official request to the EU commission for €160 million in aid to cover a handful of projects.

A day later on 16 September, the commission said it would release a €108 million emergency package to improve Bulgaria's "border and migration management." And Bulgarian authorities are expecting another €52 million top-up.

"I want to see at least 200 extra border guards and 50 extra vehicles deployed at the Bulgarian external borders as of October," said commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg the day before the official request.

Some 173 guards have been deployed so far.

Bulgaria has a 127.3-kilometre fence with Turkey. Another 55.7 kilometres is under construction as of mid-September.

But some people, especially from Afghanistan, still manage to cross through it in the hope of reaching Serbia before heading further north to Germany or Sweden.

Frontex says some 6,000 migrants were detected at Bulgaria's borders with Turkey and Serbia this year.

Those caught are sent to one of three detention facilities in Bulgaria where they are identified and fingerprinted.

Most apply for asylum and are then sent to one of six reception facilities throughout the country. Few, especially those from Afghanistan, obtain international protection.

'Quite critical' situation

Bulgarian authorities say Turkey has also refused to accept any returns. Around 14,000 are now stuck in Bulgaria as of September, according to the country's interior ministry.

"We keep on sending requests and we don't receive an answer," said the Bulgarian government contact.

Meanwhile, those housed in reception and detention facilities are faced with overcrowding and poor conditions.

"The situation is really quite critical," Mariana Stoyanova, who oversees the refugee migrant service at the Red Cross in Sophia, told EUobserver.

"We have stranded migrants in the country and reception capacity is full," she said.

She said detention centres have also reached 180 percent overcapacity and are in dire need of repairs. The three centres can host around 1,000 people but now have more than 1,600.

People are not allowed to be detained for more than six months. However, a court order can extend it to 18 months. After 18 months, they are released and monitored by authorities, she said.

"The number of unaccompanied and separated children is also on the rise, which is quite a worrying trend," said Stoyanova.

She noted more than 1,200 boys from Afghanistan are registered as unaccompanied minors. Those under 14 are sent to orphanages.

Balkan leaders pledge to keep out migrants

Balkan leaders said in New York there would be no repetition of last year's mass influx of refugees, as the EU prepares to launch a new border force to keep people out.

Bulgarian PM threatens to quit

Boyko Borissov says he will resign if his ally Tsetska Tsacheva is beaten in the second round of presidential elections.

EU billions had 'limited' effect in Turkey, audit finds

The EU got "limited" effect for the €9bn it spent trying to modernise Turkey in recent years, auditors have said. Turkey has been "backsliding" on reforms since 2013 due to "lack of political will", the European Court of Auditors found.

News in Brief

  1. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  2. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  3. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU
  4. EU to have 'immediate' trade talks with Trump
  5. Separatist activist renounces Catalonia leadership candidacy
  6. EU puts conditions on Bayer-Monsanto merger
  7. Hard Brexit would hit poorer Irish households hardest
  8. Finland hosts secretive North Korean talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  2. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  3. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  4. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  5. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  6. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions
  7. EU mulls coercion to get refugee kids' fingerprints
  8. Five east European states prevent new CAP consensus