Speaking at a conference on security and migration management in the Western Balkans in Brussels on Thursday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov lambasted the EU’s migration and asylum policy, calling it “a complete failure”.
Borisov, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency on the European Council, offered a number of solutions that could deal with the ‘chaos’ that resulted from the EU’s existing approach towards migrants.
Part of his initiatives may face misunderstanding among other member states.
Borisov was particularly abrupt when speaking about the migrant issue and repeatedly countered the claims of Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship, who earlier called the EU’s relocation and resettlement scheme “a European success story”.
Borisov, instead, labelled Brussels current integration scheme a ‘complete failure’, adding that the inability of mainstream parties in Germany and Austria to form traditional ruling coalitions was prompted by the former governments’ impotence when dealing with the crisis both during and after the initial wave of refugees appeared in 2015.
“We have to admit that the EU’s relocation and resettlement scheme is a failure as well as our diplomacy. Instead of arguing with each other how many migrants we have to take in, we should come up with a different approach,” said Borisov.
Borisov offered to improve and strengthen the EU’s external borders, developing clear criteria which could help distinguish refugees and economic migrants at a entry point, and improve data exchanges among member states to better track potential terrorists. The most controversial initiative, which caused a stir in the auditorium, was Borisov’s suggestion that the EU should build security facilities along the borders of war-torn countries with the purpose of processing migrants’ data before they leave their home countries, and even encourage them to return their places of origin.
“I do not understand why we should pour billions of euros into the economies of Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria and mend repair the damage caused by someone else. We have to think of how to prepare the people from these countries to return home and repair their own economies. Regardless of my respect for the Council, the Parliament and (High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica) Mogherini’s efforts, we have to admit that the process tends to be run from beyond Europe,” said Borisov.
The level of rancor between the individual member stated when discussing the migration issue at an EU level has completely caught him off guard, said Borisov, adding the conversation quickly escalated and “everyone starts insulting each other”.
He reiterated, however, that Europe needed to stay united when it comes to tackling the refugee as this is the only way to eventually emerge from the situation.