Bulgarian caretaker Interior Minister Boyko Rashkov told Parliament that migration pressure on the country is increasing. “We are indeed seeing an increased migration pressure, the kind of pressure that also existed before the caretaker government took office,” Rashkov said during a parliamentary hearing on 30 July.

Minister Rashkov said that his Ministry is monitoring the situation on the Bulgarian border and beyond, and is ready to respond in a timely manner if the pressure increased dramatically.

Since the start of 2021, 17,621 third-country citizens have tried to enter Bulgaria illegally, said Rashkov. During the same period, 590 illegal migrants were caught in Bulgaria and 16,900 returned to neighbouring countries.

In May alone, there were 2,500 attempts for illegal crossing into Bulgaria and 113 trespassers were caught after crossing the border. In June, there were 4,504 attempts and 61 caught trespassers and then in July the attempted illegal crossings dropped by 5%.

Minister Rashkov also said that police operations are held on the border with Greece and Turkey to prevent illegal crossings. Interior Ministry staff is sent to the border with all-terrain vehicles from other parts of the country to help the border police. Also, police patrols are positioned on key road junctions and in areas close to the border with Greece and Turkey.

Rashkov said that he plans to visit the border areas next week, together with the regional governors, to inspect the condition of the border fence which was built along the southern border to deter illegal migrants.