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PM: Bulgaria, Fearing Migrant Wave, Set to Build Fence on Greece Border

  • Reuters

FILE - Migrants, mostly Syrians, listen to an Arabic speaker talk to them about their future as they rest in a stadium while waiting to cross to Europe near Turkey’s western border with Greece and Bulgaria, in Edirne, Turkey, Sept. 23, 2015.

FILE - Migrants, mostly Syrians, listen to an Arabic speaker talk to them about their future as they rest in a stadium while waiting to cross to Europe near Turkey’s western border with Greece and Bulgaria, in Edirne, Turkey, Sept. 23, 2015.

Bulgaria is ready to build a fence on its border with Greece to keep out migrants amid fears they could head its way after the Western Balkan route was closed, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said Friday.

Parliament last month voted to let Bulgaria's army assist police in guarding the European Union member's borders to avoid a refugee influx that has overwhelmed some neighboring countries. Bulgaria shares a border with Greece to its south that is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) long.

"The main threat is coming from the Greek border," Borisov told lawmakers Friday. "It is very long and unprotected, and our concern is that the Greek government did not take measures in recent months. We are ready to erect a barrier if necessary."

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that a fence should be erected on the Macedonian and Bulgarian borders with Greece to curb the inflow of migrants into Europe.

Earlier this month, Bulgaria and its neighbor Macedonia to the west held joint air and land operations along their common border to ensure control of it amid an increased flow of migrants.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev requested an additional 1.5 million levs ($860,000) to provide essential equipment to army personnel taking part in border protection and control jointly with police.

In November 2013, Bulgaria started building a barbed wire fence along its border with Turkey. Almost 100 kilometers of the planned 166-kilometer fence have been erected.

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