Juncker: Bulgaria to Receive €108 million for Border Protection

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, left, European Council President Donald Tusk, centre, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at a joint press conference following the informal EU summit of 27 countries (without Britain) in Bratislava. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 16 (TASR) – The European Commission will provide €108 million to Bulgaria for protecting its border with Turkey against illegal migration, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said after the informal EU summit in Bratislava, adding that further €116 million could be allocated later.

European Council President Donald Tusk noted that protection of the outer EU borders was one of the key issues debated at the summit. “The member countries have stated that they’re ready to support Bulgaria in effectively controlling its border with Turkey. This is the beginning of a process of assistance to Bulgaria,” said Tusk, adding that this will concern personnel and equipment assistance provided by individual member countries and financial aid ensured by the Commission.

According to Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who hosted the summit, it was a “huge shift” to see an agreement of the EU leaders on “focusing absolutely” on safeguarding the outer EU borders with the aim of achieving a radical cut in illegal migration.

“We’ve agreed that the European Border and Coast Guard will be launched by the end of this year. This alone is a huge shift,” said Fico.

He added that the situation in the EU isn’t rosy and it’s necessary to answer questions asked by the public, or else someone with simple but dangerous solutions will appear instead.

“The summit has shown a will of the leaders to look into a mirror and acknowledge that not everything is good; but on the other hand it’s clear that we don’t have anything better,” according to Fico.