June 8, 2015 / 4:32 PM / 2 years ago

Bulgaria wants fewer migrants under EU relocation plan

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria is seeking to limit the number of migrants it accepts under an EU plan to relocate about 40,000 people who have arrived in Italy and Greece to other member states, the government said on Monday.

Under the proposals by the executive European Commission, the bloc would also accept 20,000 refugees from outside the 28-nation grouping and share them around EU states.

Germany and France are expected to take about 40 percent of the migrants, while Bulgaria, the bloc's poorest member, should take about 572 migrants already in Italy and Greece and more than 200 additional refugees.

"Bulgaria will insist that the migrant quotas ... be significantly smaller for countries like Bulgaria, that are an external boundary of the EU and are under strong migration pressure," the government said in a statement.

Sofia has seen refugee inflows, mainly from Syria and north Africa through the border with Turkey, increase 60 percent in the first quarter to about 3,200 people compared to the same period a year ago, the state agency for refugees has said.

Bulgaria has built a fence on its border with Turkey in an attempt to limit the illegal crossings into its territory.

The EU relocation plans have raised concerns in France and Germany, Britain has said it would not participate and some eastern states have called for a voluntary scheme.

Interior ministers are to discuss the plan on June 15 and 16.

Reporting By Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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