The “Refugee” Tide Ebbs in Bulgaria

The following video from Bulgarian TV discusses the recent massive reduction of the flow of migrants into Bulgaria. We know there are still hundreds of thousands of “refugees” eager to get to Western Europe, particularly Germany, but they’re no longer using Bulgaria as a transit camp. So where are they?

The Great European Migration Crisis began in 2015 with a huge flow of illegal immigrants through the Greek islands to the mainland, and thence to Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán closed his southern borders, the flow was temporarily stymied, but soon took a detour through Croatia and Slovenia to get to Austria. Over the next year or so Austria worked with Slovenia and the Balkan countries to cut off that route, too. But the people-smugglers were not deterred; they rerouted their charges to the longer and more expensive route across the Mediterranean to Italy, using the (free to them) NGO “rescue” vessels to ferry their charges on the last leg of their journey.

The Italian political system was unable to withstand the migrant load, and this year an anti-immigrant coalition was finally ushered into office by the voters. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is currently living up to his campaign promises and refusing to allow the NGO ships to land in Italy. The flow of migrants into Italy has been reduced by 80% so far this year.

Recent news stories indicate that at least some of the flow has been redirected to Spain, aided and abetted by the new leftist government in Madrid. However, there have been warnings for months that a huge cohort of migrants had assembled in the Balkans — some reports put the number at 80,000 — in the expectation of getting to Austria by passing through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia. That new route may well be where most of the Bulgarian traffic has relocated to.

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

Video transcript:

00:00   Thank you, Dessislava. Is Bulgaria ready to take in a potential new refugee wave?
00:06   We are in the transit refugee center in Pastrogor,
00:09   which is empty. For the first time since it was created six years ago,
00:14   there is not a single refugee in the center. The rest of the refugee centers in the country
00:19   are only 13% full.
00:22   While the total capacity is 5,190 people,
00:26   691 have been housed there.
00:30   Meanwhile the Border Police report migratory pressure of almost zero on our country.
00:36   A total of 610 illegal migrants
00:39   have been detained since the beginning of this year
00:42   at the border and in the interior of the country. A bit more statistics —
00:46   on the so called “Dublin regulation”
00:49   during the last year our country has taken back 319 foreigners,
00:54   but it has also returned 24 people to other EU countries.
01:03   The corridors through which more than 6,000 refugees have passed
01:06   are empty now. Just two years ago over two million levs [one million euros]
01:09   were invested here for security and surveillance.
01:12   [Even] the cupboards were bolted to the floor,
01:15   so we have taken every possible measure
01:18   against their hurting themselves, or the security guards.
01:25   Since mid-May the very last refugee has been ejected.
01:28   But the center continues to work, standing ready. —We do not manage these processes.
01:33   These processes are international, and, maybe, the solution is pan-European.
01:41   After all, we don’t want to wait to close the barn door until after the horse is stolen.
01:44   At our biggest refugee center, too — the one in Harmanly — there are just 200 people.
01:48   Among them is the group of Farad from Syria. —We are here temporarily.
01:53   We are looking for a better life. —After the fence was built,
01:56   people in the villages at the border are calmer. —We have been living here, at the border,
02:00   since we were born. We have caught trespassers, we have handed them to the border policemen…
02:05   Today the only crossing point for refugees is the Maritsa river, but
02:08   according to the people from the village, nobody who managed to cross the border
02:11   and arrive in Western Europe will come back in our country.
02:14   —The refugees don’t want to remain in Bulgaria. —For the past 5 years,
02:17   through all the refugee centers in our country, over 50,000 foreigners have passed.
02:21   To date authorities report there is no risk of the refugee centers’ becoming overfilled.
02:27   That’s why the government decided a week ago that this center, for example, will be transformed
02:31   from a closed to an open-type center. With an option, however, that if the necessity arises,
02:36   it will once again become a prison for refugees.
02:41   Maria Georgieva from the Pastrogor refugee center.
 

2 thoughts on “The “Refugee” Tide Ebbs in Bulgaria

  1. Avand in vedere ca “teleportarea” este inca un domeniu Stiintifico fantastic singura explicatie a numarului din ce in ce mai mare de africani din Bucuresti (cel mai vizibil pe holurile marilor supermarketuri) este faptul ca acesti africani sunt adusi cu avionul sau cu autocarul prin complicitatea organelor statului roman … prin incalcarea constitutiei . Odata ajunsi in România nimeni nu ii mai legitimeaza sau verifica daca au acte sau nu … daca sunt legali sau ilegali pe teritoriul Uniunii Europene . Singurul loc undd se mai cer acte este la trecerea granitei .

    [Machine translation:

    ‘Considering that “teleportation” is still a Fantastic Science field, the only explanation for the growing number of Africans in Bucharest (most visible on the supermarket hallways) is that these Africans are brought by plane or coach through complicity the bodies of the Romanian state … by breaking the constitution. Once in Romania no one is legitimizing or checking whether or not they act … whether they are legal or illegal on the territory of the European Union. The only place to go is to cross the border.’

    This is an English-language blog. In future, please use English in your comments.]

  2. The ordeal of these poor refugees really tugs at my heart strings. I wish that I could reach out and help these poor needy beings. I would like to get some information about them. Are they Hindus? Jews? Christians? Rastafarians? Buddhists? Atheists? Liberals? I wish I could help these people. Please tell me how I could help them!

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