Bulgarian must be very careful about its border with Turkey: Gene Kircho Kirov30 January 2016 | 21:30 | Radio FOCUS
General Kircho Kirov, former director of the National Intelligence Service (2003-2012), in an interview for Radio FOCUS
Host: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov urged at a joint meeting with his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban for immediately closing of outer EU borders until settlement of already received migrants. We asked General Kircho Kirov, former director of the National Intelligence Service, whether this is realistic.
General Kircho Kirov: I am very impressed by several accents in the statements made by the two prime ministers – of Bulgaria and Hungary – but first, I would like to emphasise that may be for first time the Hungarian Prime Minster points out the refugee issue is no longer economy or political issue, but it is rather a matter of national security. I, personally, at least, cross upon on such emphasised assessment. Of course, the question of the refugee crisis is still pending as a vital issue on the agenda of all EU countries and that is why it was one of the most important topics of the bilateral discussion. I believe that this very question will again become a major issue in the spring. Therefore I see reasonable concern in the statement of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov about what is yet to come. Why? First we have to consider the fact that the prime cause, which triggers these massive human migrations of peoples figuratively speaking, these large refugee and immigrant flows, is not eradicated, i.e. the fight against the Islamic State and terrorist formations on the territory of Syria, on the territory of Iraq, of Libya continues.
Tension that exists in the territory of Afghanistan continues and therefore I think that a slight decrease of refugee flow, which is now registering is due to weather conditions in this period and is yet to increase.
Host: Were we able to anticipate the refugee issue? Where did politicians go wrong?
General Kircho Kirov: I think that the refugee problem was a matter of forecast and prediction yet in a very distant period before actually starting this human migration. In a period in which I was still director of the National Intelligence Service, we submitted information and forecasts, and real information that the emergence of a huge wave of refugees was real danger and that something of a kind was likely to happen in the foreseeable future. And it was in the period 2010-2011. It was based on my conversations and information received from our sources and our partner services about emerging developments in the Middle East, which would inevitably lead to such refugee flows. We predicted back in the period 2010-2011 the emergence of events which were subsequently called Arab Spring. Of course, we were hardly able we to predict that it would happen on such a scale and in such dimensions as it actually happened, but we predicted that even as possible to happen years ago.
Host: It is already clear to all EU member states that the refugee issue is of greatest concern on the continent. What, however, stops Europe from taking measure of closing its borders, as called for by the Bulgarian Prime Minister?
General Kircho Kirov: I think that first of all, Europe suffers from a serious leadership deficit. This leadership deficit finds an expression in the fact that Europe still cannot elaborate its own doctrine which to provide for a general vision on how to proceed in this situation, how to act as one. The lack of common policy is the main reason for divergent approaches which reflected on the actions of individual countries. We all see that so far seven or eight EU countries have closed their borders, but in fact this is a step backward or two steps back from the general process of European integration, because in fact we are seeing a return to national states, a break of the so cherished liberal and unified European space. We are witnessing a retreat from the principles on which the European Union is built on - the free movement of people, goods and capital.
And in fact closing the borders of countries actually has a destructive impact on Schengen agreements, not to mention that so-called Dublin Regulation is no longer working.
Host: Hungarian Prime Minister Orban said that Bulgaria had to decide whether wanted to enter dying Schengen – that is what he said. How will you comment on this statement?
General Kircho Kirov: I will comment on it as recognition of a prominent European leader that Bulgaria plays a major role in confining the refugee flow, the immigrant and refugee pressure, but here we have to ask not only for our entry but also for the recognition of our role in Schengen area. But how does this happen given that today we are witnessing the call for review of the Schengen Agreement and for postponement of its activity for two years. That is what Slovenia insisted on a few days ago. Then we have to think and evaluate our own place and our own role from this perspective - what are the use and the lost for us, for our national interests in case of accession of our country to Schengen area.
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