Bulgarian FM Mitov backs tougher measures against economic migrants arriving in the EU

Bulgarian FM Mitov backs tougher measures against economic migrants arriving in the EU

Sofia, January 19, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of The Sofia Globe

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov supports tougher measures against economic migrants arriving in the EU, he told reporters after an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“When the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, were candidate countries, our citizens, if illegally residing in EU member states, got a black stamp (in their passports), were returned and we took them back,” Mitov said on January 18.

“There is no reason why the EU currently should not apply exactly the same measures in exactly the same way to third countries,” Mitov said.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister said that the EU should be tougher regarding the influx of people crossing borders into the bloc.

“We have been insisting for a long time on a stricter control over EU’s external borders. We should not allow the won freedom of movement to be threatened by temporary phenomena, such as migration flows. The return of the economic immigrants should become a European policy.” Mitov said.

At the European Council meeting of heads of state and government on February 18 and 19 2016, the council is to assess progress in the implementation of its decisions taken in response to the migration and refugee crisis.

The European Agenda on Migration adopted by the Commission in May 2015 set out the need for a comprehensive approach to migration management.

Since then, a number of measures have been introduced – including the adoption of two emergency schemes to relocate 160 000 people in clear need of international protection from the member States most affected to other EU member states, and the endorsement of the Commission Action Plan on Return.

On September 23, the European Commission presented a set of priority actions to implement the European Agenda on Migration to be taken within the next six months.

This included both short term actions to stabilise the current situation as well as longer term measures to establish a robust system that will bear the test of time.

The list of priority actions set out the key measures immediately required in terms of operational measures; budgetary support and implementation of EU law.

The list was endorsed by the informal meeting of heads of state and government of September 23 2015 and again on October 15 2015.