site.btaMigrant Pressure Increased 45% at Border in Q1 - Minister
Migrant pressure on Bulgaria increased around 45% in the first three months of 2023, Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev said on bTV. He specified that the increase concerned people trying to enter our territory.
At the same time, illegal migrant detained inside Bulgaria are almost 40% fewer than the previous year, when the pressure was lower, which the Minister believes to mean that the authorities are doing significantly better at deterring illegal entries at the border.
"That we are doing better is not my conclusion: the European Commission believes so as well and for the first time it is allocating EUR 600 million for the fight against migration, which are mainly earmarked for our border," the minister said. This money will be used to secure 110 kilometres of the border that are not covered by technical security equipment, recruit more border police staff and provide vehicles.
Ivan Demerdzhiev also commented a US State Department report on human rights, which came out a few days ago and which concluded that while the Bulgarian authorities took steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses and corruption, government actions were insufficient, and impunity was a problem.
He said: "The report is interesting. It does not say anything new, but in fact there is a misunderstanding in it. It says that the efforts of the government are not enough because there is a significant increase in the number of high-level office holders under investigation but there is a lack of convictions. In Bulgaria, the authorities and the separation of powers are organized quite differently. The executive branch is responsible for the first part - for investigations, where a significant increase is observed."
Regarding the data on arbitrary arrests and cruel treatment of detained migrants, the minister explained that this finding is not relevant at the moment. There were unlawful actions and exceedances of police power, he said. "The police were beating citizens - thats became public knowledge, and the authorities, including the prosecution service, turned a blind eye. Today, the same police help elderly people cross the street, help people," Ivan Demerdzhiev noted.