Bulgaria’s Border Police Directorate General has revealed a significant surge in migrant attempts to cross the country’s borders during the summer of 2023 compared to the previous year.

Head of the Border Police Directorate General, Chief Commissioner Anton Zlatanov, presented a comprehensive report-analysis of the Directorate’s activities in 2023 during a recent event attended by diplomatic representatives, legislators, and Ministry of Interior officials.

Zlatanov described 2023 as an “extremely difficult, but also extremely satisfying year” for the Border Police. He highlighted that 2022 marked a particularly challenging period, with twice as many incidents of illegal migration compared to the worst year in the past decade, which was in 2015.

Notably, data from the summer months of 2023 showed a staggering 50% increase in migrants attempting to cross the border illegally compared to the previous year. Zlatanov emphasized that the Border Police had to deter an average of 1,500 attempts to cross the border per day.

The report revealed that while there was a substantial decrease in detained illegal migrants within the country in 2023, the migration pressure along the Bulgarian-Turkish border continued to rise. In 2015, there were 90,315 attempted crossings, increasing to 164,536 in 2022, and further escalating to 180,512 in 2023.

Highlighting the severity of the situation, Zlatanov disclosed that from January 1 to February 15, 2023, there were 8,519 attempts to illegally cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border, compared to 3,023 during the same period in the previous year. Moreover, the number of migrants detained within the country during this period increased significantly from 189 in 2024 to 640 in 2023.

Among the challenges faced by the Border Police, Zlatanov pointed out the high percentage of job vacancies, with over 700 positions unfilled. However, he noted that efforts to address this issue were underway, with increased interest observed in competitions for jobs within the Border Police.