* Is Bulgaria getting closer to Visegrad on migration? A trip around the Three Seas region.
** In Europe, when in need of a photo-op and a fancy dinner, one can always find Jean-Claude Juncker. When in need of assistance at the border, one calls Viktor Orban and Visegrad.
Will Bulgaria follow the so-called EU Core or will they join Visegrad in opposing the new mandatory relocation quotas of the EU Parliament? Maybe both. Jean-Claude Juncker is trying to lure them, but Visegrad is offering help at the borders.
*** According to the linked article below, Bulgarian vice-premier and Ministry of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov made a statement against obligatory migration quotas and possible fines on the countries which do not fulfil them:
“I fully share the opinion of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (in European Parliament) that the changes to the Dublin Regulation must not be in the direction that it is now going, but just the opposite – not to oblige European countries to accept illegal migrants by quotas and not to impose fines”, said Karakachanov.
He added that Europe needs a political force with established traditions, values, religion and culture.
Is Bulgaria, like others in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE), getting closer to the position of Visegrad regarding migration?
We cannot be sure. The current leader of Bulgaria (pictured below) has a relatively good working relationship with Hungary’s Viktor Orban, but also seems eager not to upset Brussels.
However, Bulgaria will need assistance at the border. The article below pointed out some alarming trends taken from the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior’s data from January 1, 2017 to the end of October.
During that period, 2,283 migrants were captured while attempting to illegally leave Bulgaria on their way to Western Europe. 406 of them (almost 18%) were without Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) registration. Among the people detained, the majority were citizens of Afghanistan (53.8%), Pakistan (18.1%) and Iraq (14.5%).
All three of these regions contain violent elements. Obviously, there is no recorded data detailing the number of migrants that were able to slip through the cracks, but surely some have moved on.
Upon closer examination, Bulgaria should choose its friends wisely. It will not be Juncker and Angela Merkel helping Bulgaria with any meaningful border security or detainment procedures, but the leaders of Visegrad, who have the experience and determination to produce results.
The countries of “Western Europe” may also want to know where those 2,283 illegal migrants (almost 20% without fingerprints) were traveling to before they were detained in Bulgaria. They may not want to know the answer.
It seems Germany and the central region of Europe are benefiting from a shield of protection on the Balkan route. The Central European Defence Cooperation (the V4 plus Austria, Croatia and Slovenia) is a coalition fighting to combat illegal migration by securing Europe’s southern borders. This partnership has been a success and greatly reduced the flow of migrants northward, especially to Germany and Austria.
It is much more efficient to deny entry at the source rather than attempting to deport later. Assisting Bulgaria with border security would relieve much pressure from Europe’s internal defence and would add another layer to help protect all Europeans.
In addition, Bulgaria may be another state ready to join the increasing number of CEE governments defying the European Parliament’s manifesto for more relocation quotas, especially if they receive the proper assistance they need at the border.
In Europe, it’s nice to take photos with Jean-Claude Juncker at fancy Summits. However, when help is needed at the border, one knows who to call.
Onward V4! Stay strong and united.