World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | April 22, 2016
During their meeting held in Thessaloniki on Thursday and Friday, the interior and foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Albania agreed that the countries from southeastern Europe will seek common decisions for tackling the migrant crisis.
The ministers reached an agreement for this type of meetings to be held once every six months. In case it is necessary, the meetings might be held more often and their format might be extended.
The main aim of the meeting was to enhance dialogue and extend the perspectives for further cooperation and coordination in dealing with the common challenges arising from the refugee crisis.
The participants agreed that there is need to distinguish between economic immigrants and refugees. According to them, it is necessary to take swift actions for the return of illegal immigrants.
They also discussed possible ways for consolidating dialogue and improving border cooperation.
During the joint press conference, the ministers highlighted the need for united approach in tackling the refugee crisis both at regional and European level.
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said that the agreement between the EU and Turkey is an important first step for enhancing control and consolidating the external borders of the Union.
According to him, emphasis should also be put on fighting human trafficking and interrupting the illegal networks.
Among the main topics of discussion in the meeting of the interior ministers was the need to improve exchange of information and step up the fight against trafficking networks.
Greece is expecting the trilateral centre Bulgaria-Turkey-Greece to soon start functioning.
The interior ministers discussed opportunities for better use of the contact centre between Bulgaria and Greece at the Kulata-Promachonas border checkpoint.
Bulgarian Deputy Interior Minister Filip Gunev presented data according to which there were 10 000 attempts to cross the Bulgarian-Turkish border illegally in the first three months of this year.
In the past three months, around 170 people have been detained on Bulgaria's border with Greece.