Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania against ‘buffer zone'

Craiova Group leaders composing of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia are against the Balkans being a “buffer zone”

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

European Council President Donald Tusk (L) and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov arrive for a news conference at the Euxinograd palace on the Black Sea coast, Bulgaria

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said that the state will follow Germany’s and other European Union policies to halt the refugee influx.

The Balkans is one of the main transit refugee routes for seeking asylum in EU countries. Borisov has said in regards to this that his country would not “remain in the buffer zone.”

"If Germany, Austria and other states close their borders, we shall not allow our people to remain in the buffer zone, we shall close our borders too,” said Borisov in a common press conference with his counterparts Romanian Victor Ponta and Serbian Aleksandar Vucic.

The Bulgarian leader complained of there being no effort amongst the European countries to stop the flow of refugees saying “Where is this refugee wave going? Where will these refugees work in the future? How will they be integrated? Where do the children get education?"

"We do not see light at the end of the tunnel. Meetings that we are holding every three days in Brussels are empty and meaningless. There is no horizon, no solution," he said.

Syrian refugee boys and Turkish police officers play with a ball as they rest in a stadium used for traditional Kirkpinar oil wrestling, waiting to cross to Europe near Turkey’s western border with Greece and Bulgaria, in Edirne, Turkey / Photo by AP

During the press conference, both Romanian Prime Minister Ponta and Serbian Prime Minister Vucic affirmed that the three countries would act as part of a common strategy.

Craiova Group for more cooperation

A rilateral meeting among the leaders which seems to be the most important topic of the Craiova Group, which includes the countries Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania, gathered specifically for the refugee crisis. The Serbian leader said that all positions adopted by the three countries and all of the countries would be completely implemented into practice.

Vucic said that Serbia has accepted technical aid and manpower offered by the Romanian prime minister to protect the Serbian border, on the other hand Serbia and Bulgaria agreed on all matters relating to the reception of refugees.

Vucic also said that the refugee crisis must not be solely in the responsibility of these three countries as it is not realistic to hold and stem the influx of two or three million refugees. The Craiova Group has said it will pursue Germany’s and Austria’s policy.

Serbian, Croatian ministers "agree on some concrete steps"

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic and his counterpart Croatian Ranko Ostojic met in Croatia to discuss measurements of the refugee influx.

After meeting, the ministers announced "some concrete steps have been agreed," without giving away any details. 

A man stays warm by wrapping himself in a blanket as he waits to cross Serbia's border with Croatia in Berkasovo, Serbia, Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015 / Photo by AP

"It's important to us to agree on a speedy transit, while respecting rules and procedures, but also that they waste no time, that things are decent, warm, that people are approached in a normal and humane way," Stefanovic told reporters after the meeting, and "stressed that a strategic approach should be agreed on."

"What is happening is not our fault, and neither Croatia nor Serbia are economically strong enough, nor can we be accepting 50,000 people," said the minister, and explained that "some concrete steps have been agreed."


TRTWorld and agencies