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Syrian refugees, a threat to security?

(BRUSSELS2) The Bulgarian Minister of Defense, Angel Naydenov, is not going anywhere. The arrival of Syrian refugees in numbers in Bulgaria is “ one of the main national security risks » he declared on Monday. “And this has already been stated more than once.” The minister particularly pointed out the fact that radicalized elements could thus enter the country, according to the Novinite agency. “ We should all, citizens and institutions, take the necessary steps to see how these refugees can be accommodated ", he added.

In a few weeks, several thousand Syrians arrived in the country. And the government expects to have to welcome 11.000 Syrians by the end of the year. Which is notable. Bulgaria does not have a very strong tradition of welcoming refugees (like most Eastern European countries). In 2012, out of 606 asylum requests, it only accepted 195! 20 only as refugees and 175 as temporary protection (Compare to the 1455 asylum seekers recognized in Malta which has a population 15 times smaller!).

Comment: If the message is a little abrupt, it deserves some consideration. The number of Syrian refugees is indeed becoming a security “question” and all of Europe deserves to look at it more seriously. And quickly. Because the situation is accelerating. The rate of 5 million refugees could be reached according to UN agencies. And neighboring countries are overflowing: Turkey has more or less closed its borders, Jordan is not far away and Lebanon is overflowing. In Egypt, they expel, etc. Many people in Europe are currently turning a blind eye to this problem. Yesterday I met several UMP MEPs in Strasbourg. And the solutions displayed were distressing. “They must stay in neighboring countries. We just have to put pressure on Turkey » said one, despite being a convinced Europhile. The solution to the conflict is “political above all” says the other. Sensible remarks but which do not resolve the current situation. Syrian refugees could soon arrive in larger numbers to Europe quickly, via Turkey or the Mediterranean. And it’s important to be prepared!

(*) I prefer this term to “threat”

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).