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Overwhelmed by Syrian Refugees, Bulgaria Seeks EU Aid

Bulgaria, as the closest EU country to Syria, is seeing more than its fair share of the average 5,000 refugees that are fleeing Syria every day. Unprepared and inexperienced in dealing with this influx of refugees seeking shelter, food and protection, Bulgaria has requested assistance and financial aid from the European Union. Meanwhile, some Bulgarian ministers have allegedly proposed to use some of the new funding to put up a 30-kilometer barrier fence along the border with Turkey to prevent illegal entry.

Open Democracy reports in more detail:

Geographically, Bulgaria is not that remote from Syria. Sharing a border with Turkey, Bulgaria is the EU member state closest to Syria if one is travelling by road or railway transport. Therefore, as the most likely first point of entry into the Union, Bulgaria must be well equipped to meet the challenges that will ensue with the new expected waves of Syrian refugees in the coming months. Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case.[...]

This week it is expected that the European Commission will make a final decision as to whether Bulgaria will receive financial aid to cope with the situation. In the meantime, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, has warned that the Bulgarian authorities lack experience of dealing with similar situations and have failed in crisis planning.

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