Bulgaria, EU and "refugee crisis"

    Zvezda Vankova
    Valeria Ilareva
    Dimitar Bechev
    European Policy Institute
    Communitas Foundation

    Due to the geographic position of Bulgaria as an external border of the European Union, the "refugee crisis" is a major political issue in the country. As of September 2016, 61% of citizens perceive migration as the most serious external threat to national security. The threat of foreigners is used not only by nationalist formations and the extreme right, but also by mainstream parties, including those with declared center-left positions. The political (mis)use of refugees and asylum seekers instils an atmosphere of intolerance in Bulgarian society.

    The report "Bulgaria, EU and "refugee crisis": how to improve the policy of providing international protection and refugee integration?" analyzes the policies on providing international protection and integration of refugees in Bulgaria in the context of European legal and financial instruments. The first part of the report presents the legal obligations of the EU member states and the financial instruments for their implementation. The second part focuses on Bulgaria, analyzing the topic of asylum seekers, in view of the national legal framework and policies. The report concludes with recommendations for overcoming the serious problems in this field in Bulgaria, taking into account the European context.

    The authors outline a list of recommended reforms in state institutions: to adopt a new regulation as soon as possible, rethink the priorities when applying for EU funding, form a state body responsible for the integration of refugees, conduct broad information campaigns and consultations with local authorities and citizens, and stop illegal border practices.