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Bulgaria pushes for new EU-Turkey migrant summit


Bulgaria has offered to become the organiser and meditator of a migrant crisis-centred summit between the European Union and Turkey, Parliament Speaker Vezhdi Rashidov said after discussing the issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday.

Rashidov, a Bulgarian of Turkish origin and member of former prime minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB who was elected speaker due to his wide appeal in parliament, met with the Turkish head of state on Tuesday.

“I asked Erdogan for permission for Bulgaria to become a host and a major player in the negotiations related to the migration problem because it is important for us to be a driving force,” Rashidov said.

Bulgaria should be active and have good relations with all countries because it is about the “Bulgarian border”, the parliament speaker added.

Four years ago, Borissov – who won the election in October but lacked the support to form a government – organised a summit on the migrant crisis between Erdogan and EU leaders in the Black Sea city of Varna.

Borissov was on excellent terms with Erdogan at the time, and many European countries saw him as an emissary between Brussels, Berlin and Ankara. Bulgarian authorities even returned Gülenists to Turkey following Erdogan’s vow to bring them back to Turkey.

Rashidov’s trip to Turkey can indeed be viewed as an attempt at resolving the diplomatic spat with Austria and the Netherlands – the two countries that blocked Bulgaria‘s accession to the visa-free Schengen area just 10 days ago.

Meanwhile, President Rumen Radev has been trying to get an exact date of the last European Council for the admission of Bulgaria to Schengen and asked for guarantees that the country would enter by autumn of next year.

However, while Austria is pushing for the construction of a new solid fence at the Bulgaria-Turkish border, the European Commission continues to oppose financing, estimated at nearly €2 billion.

Source : Euractiv