July 20, 2018 / 2:17 PM / 3 months ago

Bulgaria parliament bars government from signing deals on migrant readmissions

SOFIA, July 20 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s parliament voted on Friday to bar the government from signing bilateral agreements with other European Union countries on readmitting migrants who arrived in Europe via the Black Sea state.

The national assembly took the step after Prime Minister Boyko Borissov asked parliamentary groups to adopt a joint decision on curbing migration.

The resolution was backed by 177 lawmakers in the 240-seat parliament, which also decided that Borissov’s government should present a Bulgarian proposal by the end of September on reforming the Dublin Regulation on how European nations handle asylum requests.

Last month, EU leaders reached a hard-fought accord on migration, but the details were vague and the leaders agreed to share out refugees arriving in the bloc only on a voluntary basis.

Borissov said that it was no coincidence that the migrant crisis had “split Europe” and that no one had been prepared.

“There is an undeniable fact that to date Bulgaria is the only country in the EU to deal (properly) with migrants, there is almost zero (migrant) pressure, and it is seen as an example,” he said in parliament.

He said he had turned down an Italian plea to accept some of the migrants Italy helped rescue from an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean on Saturday.

Bulgaria supports the immediate closure of the EU’s external borders to migrants and the setting up of centres for war refugees outside its territory at an EU weekend mini-summit on migration.

Borissov has already said centres should be set up in Libya and Turkey to deal with migrants before they reach Europe. (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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