Bulgaria to Raise 100 Km Fence Across Borders With Greece and Turkey

imagehandlerBulgaria is to build a 100 km barbed wire fence along its border with Greece and Turkey and deploy thousands of border guards to prevent migrant flows.

Along with the existing structure, the total fence will exceed 200 km, while Frontex staff and the Bulgarian army will participate in border patrols.

Bulgaria has increased border patrols and at some points there are joint operations with Greek border guards.

Even though migrant flows from Turkey have decreased significantly, Bulgaria is preparing for the possibility that the European Union-Turkey agreement on refugee flow might collapse.

In a press conference in Sofia, Bulgarian Interior Minister Rumiana Bachvarova announced that the border guard forces will receive 420 modern jeeps, helicopters, thermal cameras and a special communication system for mobile phone reception. The whole project will be funded by the EU budget allocated for the refugee crisis.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has stated that he is concerned that Turkey might open the migrant floodgates and he has sent European partners the message that his country cannot withstand the presence and long stay of a large numbers of refugees and migrants.

Despite the strict measures at the border, active paramilitary groups operate along the border and capture refugees and migrants who manage to cross illegally to Bulgaria. Traffickers are increasingly using the so-called “Bulgarian corridor” for transferring Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, and others, who pay handsomely to cross to Serbia and from there continue the route to Europe.

In relation to Greece, Bulgarian officials have underlined the excellent cooperation between the two sides of the border.