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Bulgaria fears influx of refugees from Egypt, Tunisia

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(SOFIA) - Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov expressed concern Wednesday that the current unrest in Egypt and Tunisia could send a huge wave of refugees from those countries to Europe.

"I hope the European Union will not leave us to guard the borders of the entire EU on our own," Borisov told a joint news conference with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, who was on a visit to the Bulgarian capital.

"If a solution (to the crises) is not found soon, these countries will suffer billions (of dollars) in losses, which will translate into hunger and poverty.

"Everybody will try to escape to rich Europe, and we are its border," Borisov said.

Bulgaria, which neighbours Greece and Turkey to the south, forms part of the EU's external border but is not a member of the 25-nation Schengen zone, within which people can travel freely without passport controls.

Along with Romania, Bulgaria hopes to join Schengen later this year, but their membership bids have run into fierce opposition from countries such as France and Germany over security concerns.

Borisov insisted that Bulgaria was "already a reliable border for the EU" and, based on purely technical criteria, "we could be admitted as of today."

France, Germany and Finland have all said they will veto Bulgaria's and Romania's Schengen bids next month owing to the perceived inefficiency of their justice systems and inadequate efforts to stamp out corruption and organised crime.

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