March 25, 2016 / 11:46 AM / 4 years ago

Bulgaria says ready to erect fence on border with Greece

Refugees and migrants queue to receive food in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria is ready to build a fence on its border with Greece to keep out migrants amid fears they could head its way after the Western Balkan route was closed, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said on Friday.

Parliament last month voted to let its army assist police in guarding the European Union member’s borders to avoid a refugee influx that has overwhelmed some of its neighbours. Bulgaria shares a border with Greece to its south that is about 500 kms (310 miles) long.

“The main threat is coming from the Greek border,” Borisov told parliament on Friday.

“It is very long and unprotected, and our concern is that the Greek government did not take measures in recent months. We are ready to erect a barrier if necessary.”

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that a fence should be erected on the Macedonian and Bulgarian borders with Greece to curb the inflow of migrants into Europe.

Earlier this month, Bulgaria and its neighbour Macedonia to the west held joint air and land operations along their common border to ensure control of it amid an increased flow of migrants.

On Thursday, Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev requested an additional 1.5 million levs ($860,000) to provide essential equipment to army personnel taking part in border protection and control jointly with police.

In November 2013, Bulgaria started building a barbed wire fence along its border with Turkey. Almost 100 kms of the planned 166 km fence have already been erected.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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