A Bulgarian View of the European Migration Crisis

The following discussion aired last week on Bulgarian television, before the emergency EU summit on migration. The panelists are referring to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s demand that all external borders of the European Union be closed.

Many thanks to Tanya T for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

01:10   Fillip Gunev, former Deputy Minister of the Interior, consultant on migration issues.
01:14   Welcome. —Good afternoon. Now, Borisov [Bulgaria’s PM] has demanded the immediate closure
01:18   of all external borders of the EU against migration.
01:21   Is this possible? —Practically speaking, no.
01:25   And I don’t know why he thinks that if until now it was possible,
01:32   it wouldn’t also have happened during the migration crisis.
01:36   What he means — that in Bulgaria we managed, to some extent, to close the border —
01:41   simply couldn’t happen at the sea borders.
01:47   Mostly for legal reasons
01:51   that would involve suspending a heap of international conventions by EU countries.
02:00   This would most likely lead to thousands of people continuing to drown.
02:03   But the Italians did it — they stopped a ship.
02:06   I’ve read that he [Italian PM] is going to return migrant Gypsies
02:10   because it could not… the Italian Gypsies [unintelligible, perhaps “got caught”].
02:13   So he does some things of that kind… —He stopped that ship because it wasn’t his.
02:18   It belonged to some NGO. —He sent it for the Spaniards to take… We’re joking about these tragedies…
02:23   If the Italian coastguard or their Naval Forces come across
02:28   a migrant ship in distress, or across migrants
02:32   the way most of them come [by boats], they would still take them… and they continue to take them.
02:36   Simply because they are obliged by all kinds of international conventions,
02:39   the moment they see a ship in distress…
02:42   i.e. if one country returns the ship, another has to take it in. —No, they didn’t return this one
02:45   [i.e. the migrants on board], it simply belonged to an NGO trying to land.
02:48   But the way the traffickers work —
02:53   releasing boats and ships that cross the path of the coast guard —
02:58   The moment they see them in distress they are obliged to take them.
03:01   The question is, once they have taken them, what can they do?
03:05   There is no option in which they take them to Libya,
03:08   and, figuratively speaking, unload them there. —There isn’t even anyone to negotiate with in Libya
03:12   — with whom they could leave them… is there any thing there — any government?
03:16   There are two different… armed groups, of different generals, but …
03:20   the only way to is make an agreement like the one with Turkey,
03:25   but it, too, would require a change of international conventions
03:30   for protection of refugees, of people in distress in the sea…
03:35   Well, Turkey and Greece tore up their agreement… [about the readmission of migrants]
03:38   The bilateral one. The one with Europe is still working.
04:24   What Borisov wants is to propose [to the Visegrád Four],
04:30   because they [EU], during the past several months have thought up,
04:33   during the Bulgarian [EU] presidency,
04:36   functioning variants that actually do not threaten with many migrants the V4,
04:44   but they [V4] are not at all inclined to make even small compromises,
04:47   i.e. even if a few hundred migrants a year would supposedly come to them
04:51   they are at an extreme, politically, and refuse any compromise whatsoever,
04:57   what he [Bulgarian PM] imagines he is going to propose to them is complete closure of borders,
05:01   and they would agree to this new asylum order
05:07   and in this way, this new order, whatever it might be,
05:13   since the borders would be closed, would bring them no migrants whatsoever.
05:17   But there is no way this can happen.
05:34   What Merkel imagines, too, with this option of returning the refugees,
05:39   those 100,000s that enter through… —They are supposed to return here, part of them, aren’t they?
05:43   They are few. We are talking about a few hundred who have entered Bulgaria this year.
05:48   The problem is that she would have to return to Italy 100 or 200 thousand, for example.
05:51   Just for this year, because during recent years, after the [peak of the] crisis,
05:57   they may not pass through Bulgaria, but last year,
06:01   another 450,000 asked for asylum again somewhere in Europe,
06:04   mostly in Germany. They [German politicians] want to stop these and return them,
06:07   either to Italy or Greece. There is no way this can work out.
06:10   Even if [she] returns them, this is the Schengen area —
06:13   in a few months they will be back there.
06:16   —And they want [to live] there, they want to be in Germany!
06:19   Nobody wants [to stay] in Italy, even less in Bulgaria.
06:57   Is there a way out? —The political situation is getting more complicated
07:03   after the elections in both Austria and Italy; we went to the other extreme,
07:07   but the thing about which Borisov is right,
07:12   and [at the meeting] a decision could be made for some further measures,
07:15   is that Europe continues to be some sort of yard without a fence. That hundreds of thousands
07:19   continue to enter, practically without any control,
07:23   because for the past year, of those 450,000 who asked for asylum,
07:28   only … less than half were detected at the borders —
07:32   i.e. they were neither registered nor were detained [by police];
07:35   they simply appeared in Germany and asked for asylum. —And how do they appear in Germany?
07:39   How does this happen? In order to reach Germany… —Italians continue not to register them.
07:42   The Italians unload them, let them loose, and they appear in Germany. —They’re doing it out of
07:47   self-interest, probably so that they aren’t returned? —Yes. Because if they aren’t registered
07:51   in Italy, under the current mechanism… —It won’t be clear where to return them.
07:54   Well, right now we have a mechanism under which Germany, legally, could return the 50,000
08:00   to Bulgaria who have entered during the past several years… —50,000 is a small number, but…
08:04   One million to Greece… —One million to Greece. But this mechanism… —It’s legal under
08:08   the current regime. —That’s the Dublin regulation [unintelligible]. —It’s a disaster.
08:11   —Well, it has been in place for several years; it does not work, everybody knows it doesn’t work,
08:15   that’s why a new solution is being sought, a functioning one, that would distribute [the migrants]
08:18   in a fair way. —Are you an optimist?
08:21   (since we have to finish the conversation…) for some kind of mutual understanding…
08:24   For next week, probably not. —The Bulgarian plan won’t be accepted, will it?
08:29   That’s only a small part of the plan. —It was already
08:32   cut out when the Interior Minister presented it.
08:35   Yes. I just don’t see why it should come to compromises on behalf of the V4,
08:42   provided that nobody could give them guarantees… They know very well
08:45   that there is no such thing as the closure of borders.

5 thoughts on “A Bulgarian View of the European Migration Crisis

  1. Well in theory Spain and Greece just made a bilateral agreement with Germany to take back refugees as per Dublin accord


    Funny pic. of the three in there, they seem to look alike somehow.

    This is the Spanish version


    which emphasises that exact detail is not available. Either way it does nothing to resolve for those who do not register before reaching the north.

    While on Spain, another unusual article is of Podemos being given directorship of national TV and radio by Sanchez.


    Rtve has generally been slightly monotonous mouthpiece of the right, or a bit more diverse under PSOE but still relatively reserved … am wondering what Podemos are going to get up to once directing…sure they won’t miss the opportunity to forward their agenda.

  2. I think it was Saul Alinsky who said the way to bring down the “establishment” is to make it follow its own rules. It is logically impossible for a country or mega-country to have consistent laws, so it’s easy to get paralyzed.

    It turns out that representative government is on a thin, knife edge. It is more robust with a homogeneous population, but with a diverse population, it becomes paralyzed and unable to defend itself.

    The safety system constructed by western governments is becoming their Achilles heel. Any action to protect itself by a government can be sabotaged by a bureaucrat, or by any judge. The only way to be responsive is to institute some sort of dictator, which is what countries at war typically do. Dictators have a danger all their own, but at least can act decisively in the short run. Obama took on the trappings of a dictator in the short run, ignoring laws by executive order, but couldn’t maintain his momentum under the Constitution.

    Chances are, the countries with the large immigrant populations will have to solve their problems under some sort of dictatorial regime, which will be able to bypass the morass of rights, laws, and courts that will paralyze any real attempt to move off their present situation. Israel, with a representative, constitutional government, but a relatively homogeneous population with a self-identity, is a pioneer in solving the problem of alien immigrants.

    Israel first isolates them, gives them every opportunity to leave, and then, for those who have thrown away or otherwise hidden their country of origin, simply assumes them to be citizens of an African country Israel pays to accept them. You might need a military government in a European country to get it to override its morass of internal laws, and to ignore the many EU and “international” laws designed to dissolve national identity and security.

      • I don’t think the essay really resolves the question of representative government versus a government able to protect its nation. Simply holding elections doesn’t make a country or region democratic. Of course, by the term “democratic” we really mean that representative voting determines government decisions. The US was conceived of as a republic, rather than a democracy.

        The essay terms the EU as “democracy imposed from above”. That is decidedly not a democracy; nor is it a representative government. It’s totalitarianism by bureaucracy.

        El Ingles, in the GoV, illustrated graphically why in a sufficiently diverse society, it is literally impossible to govern by means of representative decision-making. As an example, where the population is split 50-50, one half wanting socialism and the other half wanting even a modified free-market, a government absolutely cannot make a decision. The most that can be hoped for is that the real government actions are hidden from public view and therefore, political pressures. Hence, you have the absolute refusal of the MSM to even name matters of race, nationality or religion.

        Can a tenured, secure, tax-funded, unaccountable bureaucracy be overcome by elected officials? It would be difficult in a homogeneous culture, impossible in a significantly diverse country.

        This is where we start to talk about non-proportional representation or a dictator. Lebanon for years gave majority power to Christians, although Muslims were the actual demographic majority. The Lebanese lost that great benefit when they stupidly allowed in the Palestinians as refugees, which should be as stark a warning against altruistic self-sacrifice as you’ll see anywhere in history.

        A dictatorship is like Russian roulette in a sense. It holds great powers for overcoming bureaucratic inertia, but once it goes wrong, there is almost no institutional mechanism to correct it. It’s like the “Hail Mary” play; you put everything you have into a grand rush, and you either win big or lose big. Most likely, the future of Europe will be in partition: the Muslims will be isolated in Muslim areas with strict travel and access control, like the Gaza strip with Israel and Egypt. The Europeans (and Americans and Canadians, etc, etc) will also have to recognize the necessity of instituting selection pressures to eliminate mutations and improve the genetic quality of the population. And I don’t think the government is the entity to do that.

        • Best way to improve genetic quality is to forbid consanguineity (marrying one’s first cousin), common in many Islamic cultures; who’s going to bite that bullet?

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