Migration is a European challenge that requires comprehensive and coordinated solutions. These can only be found when acting together. The European Commission is committed to strengthen its efforts and support to its Member States in addressing the challenges of migration in a sustainable manner. Efficient border management, swift asylum and return procedures are essential for a well-functioning migration system.
To address the current migration challenges, the Commission President’s letter of 26 January and the European Council of 9 February 2023 called for implementing key operational actions in the area of border protection, asylum and return. One of the targeted operational actions foresees setting up pilot projects in interested Member States for fast asylum and return procedures.
The European Commission is launching today a pilot project with Bulgaria on preventing irregular arrivals, strengthening border and migration management. The pilot project foresees the implementation by Bulgaria of targeted tools and practices in the area of accelerated asylum procedures and effective returns. The pilot project is the result of a close cooperation with the Bulgarian authorities.
The pilot project will be based on the applicable EU law and national legislation. It will be implemented with strong operational and technical support of the Commission and the key Home Affairs EU agencies (EUAA, Europol and Frontex). The pilot project is based on Bulgaria’s good practices and experience, including its excellent cooperation with Serbia, Türkiye and other neighbouring countries, as well as with the EU agencies active in Bulgaria. The pilot project is a concrete deliverable of Bulgaria’s high-level commitment and support for sustainable migration management solutions at EU-level.
Furthermore, strengthening the external borders with enhanced surveillance measures to be implemented at the Bulgaria-Türkiye border is a key priority. The Commission and Bulgaria are finalising a needs assessment and the Commission will provide financial support to support Bulgaria with strengthening border management at its external border with Türkiye.