Bulgaria Calls on EU to Fulfill Refugee Accord With Turkey

  • Migrant crisis will worsen if EU-Turkey talks fail: Borissov
  • Bulgaria’s Borissov meets Turkey’s Yildirim in Istanbul

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov urged European governments to implement the agreement with Turkey designed to curb the flow of migrants from the Middle East into the 28-nation bloc via Greece and Bulgaria.

Borissov met with Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim on Friday in Istanbul to discuss the migration, the government in Sofia said in an e-mailed statement.

European Union leaders’ support for the refugee pact is wavering as they see the Turkish government’s tactics in dealing with a failed military coup last month as authoritarian. Turkey has said it will walk away from its promise to halt the entrance of migrants to Greece and Bulgaria should the EU back out of the accord, which includes a visa-waiver for Turkish citizens to be decided in October.

“Those of us in Europe have to clearly analyze how long Turkey will be able to stop refugees if the EU agreement with Turkey is continuously unfulfilled,” Borissov said in the statement after meeting Yildirim. “We have made a commitment, voted on the agreement” that should be observed.

The EU-Turkey accord had helped reduce the number of migrants into the EU to a trickle, but the arrivals have been gradually increasing in the past month. The number of migrants crossing the border from Turkey into Bulgaria is much higher now and Bulgaria’s refugee centers are nearly full, even though part of the border is separated by a razor-wire fence, Borissov said on Thursday.

No Buffer

“I won’t accept an option of Bulgaria becoming a buffer between Turkey and Europe,” Borissov said in the statement.

Worries in Europe about Mideast terrorism and EU concerns over immigration after the Brexit vote in June have altered the political perceptions since European leaders sealed their pact with Turkey in March. Hungary plans to reinforce its border fence against a new wave of migrants in case of a potential collapse of the refugee accord with Turkey, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday.