European Commission announces up to €108 million in emergency funding to Bulgaria to improve border and migration management
OREANDA-NEWS. September 19, 2016. Following the announcement made by President Juncker at the press conference after the Informal Meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government in Bratislava and on-going contacts with the Bulgarian authorities over the past months, the European Commission has decided to respond to requests for emergency funding received last night from the Bulgarian authorities and make available up to €108 million in emergency funding to support border and migration management.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "From the very beginning already, the Commission has been supporting all Member States to manage the refugee crisis - and Bulgaria is no exception. Bulgaria's efforts and commitments to ensure an efficient management of its external EU border are essential. The fast tracking of the requests received last night from the Bulgarian authorities shows that we are fully committed to providing additional assistance when justified and that Bulgaria, as a frontline Member State guarding our external borders, receives our full support in doing so. This once again proves that the external border of one Member State is the external border of all Member States."
The funding will be used to strengthen the management of migration flows, increase reception capacities and the capacities of the asylum service as well as strengthen border surveillance and border control activities.
The Commission will also proceed with the rapid assessment of further emergency applications received for an additional amount of €52 million.
Financial and operational support has already been provided by the European Commission and the EU agencies. As of this week, Frontex has deployed a total of 173 officers in Bulgaria, responding to a request for additional operational support from the Bulgarian authorities. As announced by President Juncker in the State of the Union address on 14 September 2016, the Commission – in cooperation with Frontex and Member States – is working to ensure an extra 200 extra guards and 50 extra vehicles are deployed at the Bulgarian external borders as of October.
The Commission has already awarded around €12 million in emergency support to Bulgaria in order to respond to the migration crisis in order to provide accommodation, food and medical supplies to migrants and to provide equipment to the Bulgarian border guards. The additional support is on top of the €91 million allocated for the period 2014-2020 for its national programmes under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF, €18.3 million) and the Internal Security Fund (€72.7 million) to better manage migration and reinforce security.