Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov has said the migrant crisis can be solved if the EU can seal its external border, detain illegal migrants already present, and deport them back to where they came from.
Speaking after the EU’s failed mini-summit on migration, called to forestall German chancellor Angela Merkel’s partners in Bavaria walking out of government and collapsing her fragile ‘grand coalition’, the Bulgarian leader said he would not accept any plan which involved sending migrants back to the first EU state they arrived in — often border states like his own — in line with the EU’s old Dublin regulations.
“Let’s face it: Greece, Italy and Bulgaria let the migrants through, and they went to Germany,” he said bluntly.
“That’s how the countries of Western Europe were flooded with migrants, and that’s why they want to send some of them back.”
He added, however, that these illegal migrants would not have crossed into their territory in the first place if Angela Merkel had not issued an open invitation for them to come, and that he would not accept tens of thousands being sent back to his country without an agreement to detain them.
“Angela Merkel may ask for bilateral agreements [on other EU member-states taking back migrants] when the EU external borders are securely and entirely closed… Before they send them back, they should first agree that we build prisons and hold them there,” he said.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 2, 2016
While not a member of the Visegrád Group of countries opposed to mass migration and compulsory migrant quotas — Hungary, Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia — Bulgaria has adopted a similarly tough line on illegal immigration.
“This is a very sensitive subject in Europe, and that’s why these meetings are organized. Everybody acknowledged that Bulgaria has done plenty of work during the [EU Council] Presidency to move forward the migration topic and… I was congratulated because the issue can thus be solved in a relatively short time,” Borissov said.
“If each member-state along the external border manages to do the same [as Bulgaria], the problem with migration will be solved.
“This will require several things. First, continued financing of the front-line countries so as to be able to guarantee that they will not let any such wave pass through their territory again.
“Second, setting up reception centres outside Europe. Let’s take advantage of the countries that have good historical contacts with African states: the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Spain.
“Flexible agreements should be signed on such security centres outside the EU. Instead of sending them back from Germany to Bulgaria and Greece, let them send them to Tunisia or Libya, back to where they came from. This will also address the issue of secondary migration between member-states.
“We anyway spend enormous amounts of money on development aid for the countries of Africa, let’s see exactly where and how this money is going so as to halt this migration,” he concluded.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 6, 2016
Advocates of Borissov’s tough approach to bringing the migrant crisis under control are currently enjoying an unprecedented period of influence, with Austria’s new conservative-nationalist coalition government joining forces with the Visegrád, and a weakened Merkel held hostage by Horst Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria, which adopts a markedly more robust stance on borders than Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
All have been massively bolstered by the election of an anti-establishment, anti-mass migration populist coalition government in Italy, one of the EU’s founding members, a major economy, and, like Bulgaria, on the frontline of the migrant crisis.
Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó recently told Breitbart London that he considers the Italian government’s new Minister of the Interior, Lega leader Matteo Salvini, a “very serious person”, and said his decision to close Italy’s ports to NGOs ferrying migrants across the Mediterranean a “gamechanger”.