The parallel with some other times when Bulgaria was not allowing Russian aircraft to fly in its airspace and refused to accept refugees on its territory stands by itself. In less than two weeks, instead of following NATO rules, current Prime Minister Boyko Borisov ordered the leadership of the army to allow, “if necessary”, Russian military aircraft in our airspace Three days ago, he asked the European Union (EU) to create in Bulgaria a so-called “hotspot” for refugees. Hours later, he denied it in panic.
It is unnecessary to analyze in depth whether Borisov is doing this intentionally or it simply boils down to blunders because of his “intellectually-challenged” position. The outcome is what is important here – we are betraying the trust of our partners and Bulgaria is becoming a much more uncertain and even dangerous place to live.
Journalist Vesselin Zhelev, who has personally attended Angela Merkel’s press conference when she declared that Bulgaria has requested a “hotspot”, writes (in Bulgarian) that the very presence in the country of such “hotspot” will attract refugees. The idea is to use the hotspots to “sift” through those entitled to asylum, who then will be able to go legally to the wealthier countries in Western Europe. There will be plenty of candidates. It is unlikely for Bulgaria to be flooded by “8-10-12 million” refugees, as Borisov, himself, says, but if an official European refugee registration center is to be built, there are chances that dozens, even hundreds of thousands, of refugees will try their luck. Bulgaria will need to provide shelter and food to all of them, not only to those with rights to asylum.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian media, controlled by controversial lawmaker Delyan Peevski, and the ministers in the government from the Reformist Bloc demonstrated remarkable synchrony in trying to downplay Borisov’s huge failures.
We remind that Foreign Minister Mitov is from the right-wing party Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) whose “talking points” still include the mantra “Kostov (former DSB leader and Prime Minister – editor’s note) did not allow Russian planes and refugees in Bulgaria”. Forget this, and forget that the “reformists” were supposedly against the Mafia. Today they march shoulder to shoulder with it and hum along with Peevski’s “disinformation” channels.
All are lying, covering-up, downplaying, hypothesizing, interpreting… simply trying to hide the obvious – that the Prime Minister should resign immediately to prevent further huge, embarrassing blunders.
Fortunately, despite the flowing propaganda and the successful dissemination of misinformation by all media outlets, what has been said and written remains. Here is what the press service of the Federal Chancellor, who was not approached by any Bulgarian journalist, said today in a comment requested by the German newspaper Tagesspiegel.
“The Words of Federal Chancellor Merkel Speak for Themselves”
We will add that the words of Prime Minister Borisov speak for themselves as well. Everyone can hear them, watch the video, remember them from the original and interpret them without intermediaries, by using their own brain.
Borisov on the Russian aircraft:
This was much discussed these days.
And I must tell you that a few days ago I had a really ultimate test. One night, when the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces reported that there was a plan for flights or the so-called flight plan of Russian warplanes on our territory.
Our military doctrine is very clear; our task to guard the southern flank of NATO is very clear. The rules that our pilots must follow are very clear. Or just a week ago you saw in Shabla what perfect Rocket Forces we have.
A decision had to be made (pause). What to do right at this moment? The Chief of Staff reported; he was waiting for orders. The dilemma was whether to fulfill what we have as commitment, clearly knowing that the next day we could be collecting people and aircraft remains in the Black Sea.
I cannot allow such a thing to happen. I ordered to let them fly, if we have to. With all clear (emphatically), and clearly knowing that we are not fulfilling our commitment, but it seemed easier to me to reach an agreement with NATO partners in the aftermath than for them to come and pull out pilots in coffins (applause). And, I truly hope that people in Moscow will not experiment with our friendly feelings, of the entire nation, towards them (applause). Because we took this decision with the leadership of the army, but we should not be provoked, because this is not a good example of good neighborliness and friendship. There are diplomatic channels through which all humanitarian transport can pass and, of course, we will allow it (applause).”
Merkel on the “hotspots”:
“We talked that any quota allocation (for refugees – editor’s note), whatever it is decided (because the European Commission released new proposals), can only happen if we have the relevant entry points, or the so-called hotspots. And this was the subject of a detailed discussion with a consensus, and it was said again that countries with external borders – namely Greece and Italy, but also Bulgaria, which indicated that it is not in the Schengen area, but has an external border with Turkey, will build hotspots by November 2015, at the latest. And these hotspots will deal with the identification, registration and fingerprinting of immigrants, who, at the same time, will be either expelled or redirected from these points. This is a precise result that affects those who must have hotspots, and complements the decision of the interior ministers from yesterday (distribution of 120,000 refugees on a quota basis – editor’s note). I am therefore very pleased by the results of the Council meeting; it is clear that with them we cannot fully solve the refugee problem, but we made a step forward.”
After a clarifying question whether Bulgaria is a candidate for the construction of a “hotspot”, Merkel replied:
“As for the hotspots – the issue comes to Italy and Greece, while Bulgaria just pointed out that it also has an external border with Turkey and it is under strong pressure of the refugee flow from there. Therefore, we responded that if Bulgaria wants to build a hotspot we are open to it and the country will receive the same assistance from the European institutions and agencies such as Greece and Italy. But there was no pressure from our side on Bulgaria to build such a hotspot, it was Bulgaria that pointed out that it had a problem and that it should also get help, which I find totally logical.”
This post is also available in: Bulgarian