Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban (C) and Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov (R), clad in light blue, tour the area where a fence was erected on the Bulgaria-Turkey border near the town of Lesovo, September 14, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has called on the European Union to "immediately" provide his country with 160 million euros ($180 million) to enhance the security of its border with Turkey in face of refugee influx.
"I want more than statements of solidarity," Borissov said during his visit to the border on Wednesday, adding, "At the Bratislava summit I will insist on 160 million euros being granted immediately."
Bulgaria, a member of the European Union, shares a border with Turkey that is one of the major routes for refugees to reach Europe.
The remarks come as the leaders of the EU are due to hold a meeting on September 16 to discuss plans to enhance the security and defense measures of the union after Britain’s exit from the bloc.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his annual State of the Union speech on Wednesday that at least 200 guards and scores of extra vehicles would be deployed along Bulgaria's border with Turkey starting in October.
Frontline countries that have EU’s external borders, especially Greece and Italy, have criticized the lack of solidarity from the bloc’s other member states in confronting the unprecedented influx of refugees.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban joined his Bulgarian counterpart's visit to the Bulgarian-Turkish border, criticizing the EU for the “benevolent naivety of its migration policy.”
The number of asylum seekers stuck on the Bulgarian territory has increased since Hungary strengthened its southern border with Serbia in July.
Some 13,000 refugees have been registered in Bulgaria since the beginning of 2016, authorities say. The number registered in August doubled compared to the two previous months.
Europe has been facing an unprecedented influx of refugees, most of whom are fleeing conflict zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. Last year alone, well over a million refugees made their way into the continent. Many blame Western policies for the exodus of refugees from their home countries.