BTA News

Austrian National Council President: We Appreciate Bulgaria’s Efforts to Protect EU External Border

President of the Austrian National Council, Wolfgang Sobotka, who is in Bulgaria for a working visit on Tuesday, expressed Austria’s appreciation for Bulgaria’s efforts to protect the external border of the EU. Sobotka added that Bulgaria is a valuable partner to Austria during his visit at the Kapitan Andreevo border control check point at the Bulgaria – Turkiye border.

Chair of the Bulgarian National Assembly Rossen Zhelyazkov, who was accompanying Sobotka, pointed out that border officers have prevented thousands of illegal crossing attempts. He said that while the challenge to keep the border safe is huge, Bulgaria is coping in the best possible way thanks to the aid from its EU partners.

The Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, Zhivko Kotsev, also noted that Bulgaria is doing an extremely successful job in countering illegal migration. He reported a significant increase, by over 75%, in criminal proceedings related to human trafficking and a 30% increase in convictions. Kotsev pointed out the good cooperation with Turkiye that contributes to the successful combating of illegal migration.

Sobotka and Zhelyazkov visited a section of the land state border with Turkiye, where they examined the fence and surveillance systems. They were briefed on the activities of the General Directorate Border Police by the institution’s Deputy Director Radoslav Kulekov, as well as on measures to prevent attempts of illegal entry into Bulgaria.

Kulekov pointed out that some 158,000 attempts to cross the Turkiye – Bulgaria border illegally have been thwarted since the beginning of the year. Until a few weeks ago, there were 1,500 migration attempts a day, he added. After communication with the Turkish side, this number dropped significantly, said Kotsev.

Kulekov reported that starting next year, the security at the border will be tightened with drones. A project to cover 110 kilometres of the border with video surveillance is also under development.

Zhelyazkov and Sobotka then visited the Kapitan Andreevo border control check point to observe in real time the processing of documents and the implementation of border controls on vehicles and persons crossing.