Bulgaria asks EU for millions in border aid | News | DW | 14.09.2016
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Bulgaria asks EU for millions in border aid

Sofia has slammed the bloc for offering little more than rhetoric to less well off countries on the EU's outer border. The government has demanded Brussels do more to help Bulgaria secure its frontier with Turkey.

Prime Minister Boiko Borisov called on the European Union on Wednesday to give 160 million euros ($180 million) to his government "immediately," to protect the bloc's outer border. The Bulgarian-Turkish border is one of the major hubs for migrants seeking to reach western Europe.

"I want more than statements of solidarity," said Borisov while on a visit to the frontier, adding that he plans to use an upcoming EU summit in Bratislava to press the matter. He joined other frontline nations such as Greece and Italy in calling out richer countries in the west for the perceived indifference to the plight of governments struggling to bear the brunt of the continent's refugee crisis.

Borisov was joined on his trip by Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, who has been the most vocal EU leader in criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy towards refugees.

"Bulgaria's successful defense is in the common interest of all of us," said Orban, after he and Borisov inspected new razor-wire fences in the border village of Lesovo, the beginning of what will be a 259-kilometer (160 mile) barrier along the Turkish border.

In his State of the Union address earlier in the day, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker promised to send 200 more guards to the Bulgarian border with Turkey.

Bulgaria, already strapped for the money and accommodations to provide refugees, has come under fire for the conditions asylum seekers are forced to endure within the country. Some 13,000 refugees have been registered in Bulgaria since the start of 2016, and authorities have reported that the number in August was double that of previous months.

es/rc (AFP, AP)

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