Bulgarian Ministry of Interior states that „migrant pressure“ is increasing

The current Bulgarian caretaker Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov told in the Bulgarian parliament that the „migration pressure“ on the country is increasing. The head of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) stated, that since the start of 2021, 17,621 third-country citizens have tried to enter Bulgaria ‚illegally‘. During this period, 590 illegal migrants were caught by Bulgarian authorities in Bulgaria and 16,900 were returned to neighbouring countries. The minister stated that the current border crossings are taking place in the Edirne region, from Turkey and Northern-Greece.

In the last months the official numbers raised significantly: In May 2021, there were 2,500 attempts for illegal crossing into Bulgaria and 113 people were caught after crossing the border. In June 2021, there were 4,504 registered attempts and 61 people were caught caught. In July 2021 the numbers were 5% less, probably due to the hot temperature, but the Border Violence Monitoring network reported also about several push-backs in the same month (e.g. in Vaysal, Golyam Dervent/Küçünlü and Elhovo/Küçünlü). The rise of the numbers comes right after the end of the 20-year NATO-Mission in Afghanistan and the recent increase of Afghan refugees in Turkey.

Rashkov said that „police operations“ are held on the border with Greece and Turkey „to prevent illegal crossings“. The MoI staff is sent to the border with all-terrain vehicles from other parts of the country to help the border police. Furthermore, police patrols are positioned „on key road junctions and in areas close to the border with Greece and Turkey“. Already in June 2021, the European Commissioner for Internal Affairs and Migration, Ylva Johansson, visited Serbia, to launch the Frontex-Serbia Status Agreement „Joint Operation Serbia – Land 2021“ and deploy 44 Frontex police officers at the Serbian-Bulgarian border.

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