By Clive Leviev – Sawyer of The Sofia Globe
Slovakian president Ivan Gašparovič has handed his Bulgarian counterpart Rossen Plevneliev 100 000 euro as a grant to help Bulgaria cope with the refugee crisis.
The use of the funds will be managed by the Bulgarian Red Cross.
“We are aware that this is not enough and are ready to provide further assistance later on,” Gašparovič told a November 5 joint news conference with Plevneliev during the Bulgarian head of state’s visit to Slovakia.
“We are convinced that we have an obligation within the EU to help the countries that have refugees,” Gašparovič said.
Slovakia also has provided material assistance to Bulgaria to the value of 30 000 euro in the form of beds, blankets and equipment.
“I will not forget this gesture of true friendship in difficult times,” Plevneliev said.
On November 4, Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev gave a news conference on a new “action plan” that is intended to solve the refugee situation in the country within six months.
The plan, to be financed from EU and Bulgarian funds, envisages tripling the number of people expelled from Bulgaria once found to have no valid reason to be in the country, while the number of illegal immigrants also should be decreased threefold.
The Interior Ministry said on November 5 that the total capacity of refugee shelter facilities at the ministry and the State Agency for Refugees was 4000, and this currently was exceeded by 1147 places. The total number of refugees in various places in Bulgaria is said by officials to be more than 8000.