Bulgaria ready to build fence along border with Greece if needed

VALDRIN XHEMAJ

Refugees walk in muddy puddles in a camp at the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), near Idomeni, northern Greece, 10 March 2016. After Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and FYROM have sealed their borders to the migration flow, tens of thousands of people are left stranded in Greece, where most migrants enter the European Union to continue on to wealthier countries in Northern Europe. Greece estimates that more than 25,000 migrants are presently on its territory, with more than half stuck at the makeshift camp Idomeni, on the border with FYROM.

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev, said that Bulgaria will build a fence along border with Greece in case of an emergency


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Bulgaria stands ready to raise a fence along border with Greece in case of an emergency, Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev said during a visit to Kulata crossing on the border with Greece on Wednesday.

Bulgaria already has close to 2,000 policemen guarding its 260-kilometer frontier with Turkey and is currently extending a 30-kilometer razor-wire fence there. Moreover, five days ago, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov announced that over 400 troops and other security personnel will guard the Bulgarian border with Greece, amid fears the migrant flow along the Balkan route will pick up since the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) decided to close its border with Greece.

On Wednesday, Nenchev visited Kulata to check the coordination between the Bulgarian Army forces and the Bulgarian police forces in the area where they were sent on 5 May. “I saw for myself that the coordination is very good,” Nenchev said and added that under the current situation there is no need for the building of the fence. The Bulgarian Minister also said that the military can contribute more soldiers, if the migration flow into Bulgaria from Greece increase.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Balkan Route to the richest EU states was closed and tens of thousands of refugees are now trapped in Greece. Slovenia, Croatia, FYROM and Bulgaria have already announced that refugees without a valid Schengen visa will not be allowed to enter their territories.

On Wednesday, the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, told New Europe that the Balkan route is not closed at the moment but even if this scenario turns true the EU and the Western Balkan countries are “well prepared” for possible refugee flow redirections.

Today, Austria’s interior minister told German daily, Die Welt, that the Balkan migrant route should remain closed permanently and that the “clock will not be turned back.” Johanna Mikl-Leitner said ahead of a meeting with her European Union counterparts: “My position is clear – the Balkan route will remain closed, and permanently.” She added that “the closure of the Balkan route is going to plan and this clock will not be turned back.”

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