The Bulgarian Defence Minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, has said that Europe should be prepared to send troops to its external borders in order to prevent illegal migration into Europe.
“(They’re) mostly economic migrants. They are not being persecuted, they need no protection for their lives, they only want to live in a rich western country,” he told Die Welt.
“Europeans have not managed to close the Mediterranean route despite numerous attempts. This is true not only of Italy and Greece, but ultimately the entire European Union,” he added.
“We can not allow illegal immigrants to come to Europe as a whole. We should deploy NATO or EU forces in Italy and Greece and defend the external borders of the European Union by force of arms if necessary. When the illegal migrants see that they can not get through and can not put a foot on European soil, they will stay at home.”
Karakachanov told the German newspaper that Bulgaria is stepping up its border protection along its southeastern perimeter, which borders Turkey, saying that on top of the border fence they’re building they also plan to increase the number of guards from 140 to 600 – in order to deter migrants trying to cross by land into Europe.
He also spoke about his plans for increased air surveillance, saying: “We want to use more and more video cameras that work at night, and drones, in order to better follow the movement of the migrants and to intervene in time.”
His comments are not out of character for countries in that region. Eastern European countries tend to take a harder line on migration because their leaders are prepared to speak out against the negative consequences of EU open borders.