Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev who began his two-day official visit to Slovakia in Bratislava on November 5 received a €100,000 check from Slovak President Ivan Gašparovič. The money will go to help Syrian refugees who arriving in Bulgaria.

“Today, I gave Mr. President a quasi check for €100,000,” Gašparovič said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “Helping countries that are struggling with a wave of migrants, whether it is Bulgaria, Italy, Malta, or France, is an EU-wide or even pan-European responsibility. Our pledged sum should encourage other countries to join us with aid.”

Plevneliev thanked him for the financial aid, saying that the money will be made available to the Bulgarian Red Cross. He also recalled that two weeks ago, humanitarian aid from Slovakia arrived to Sofia worth €30,000. It included field beds, mattresses, blankets, plates, cutlery, and water containers. Bulgaria is struggling with an influx of migrants, at least 60 percent of which come from Syria. So far this year, 8,800 refugees arrived in the country, far more than its annual capacity of five thousand people. Refugees come to Bulgaria across the border with Turkey and Greece.

After talks, both heads of state highlighted the high level of relations between the two countries, SITA wrote. Turnover in trade between Bulgaria and Slovakia last year was €433 million. President Plevneliev praised the intense dialogue at the political level. “The relationship is very dynamic and this is documented by the fact that even during the crisis, our mutual trade turnover between has been rising,” he said.

Bulgaria is fully prepared to join the Schengen area, Plevneliev stressed.
According to him, Bulgaria has the latest cutting-edge technology [for border control] and is doing its job well. “We hope that the decision will be taken soon,” he stated as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that he doesn’t expect the situation with the Syrian refugees to have an impact on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to Schengen.

The decision on their accession won’t be made earlier than in December of this year. According to the original assumptions, the pair was supposed to join the Schengen area in 2011. Their ambitions, however, failed due to the uncompromising attitude of some EU-member states that pointed out that neither Bucharest nor Sofia have made enough progress in the fight against corruption and organised crime. Accession of new countries into Schengen can be vetoed by any single member state. So far, France, Germany and the Netherlands have not agreed with Romania’s and Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen.

(Source: SITA, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.