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Bulgaria Asks Serbia for Information on Media Reports about Construction of Wall along the Border

21 August 2020 News

Acting on orders of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva, the Bulgarian Diplomatic Service asked the authorities of the Republic of Serbia for an explanation in light of Serbian media reports claiming that the government was planning to build a wall along Serbia’s border with Bulgaria.

Special Envoy Ivan Petkov talked to the Serbian Ambassador to Sofia Jelko Jovic, who said that his government had not adopted a decision to build a wall along the border with Bulgaria, nor had any work been undertaken to prepare for the erection of such a facility.

Radko Vlaykov, Bulgarian Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia, met with Milos Popovic, Chief of Staff of Serbian Prime Minister Ana Barnabic. He confirmed that a decision of this kind concerning Bulgaria had not been adopted and that Bulgaria would be informed if such a decision was discussed at any point.

During the Bulgarian diplomats’ meetings, it became clear that Bulgaria’s border with Serbia was guarded very strictly by the Border Guard of the Republic of Bulgaria since said border is also an external one of the EU. The Bulgarian authorities detained 211 illegal migrants at the exit of the “green” checkpoint at the Serbian border during the first half of this year.

During the state of emergency Serbia adopted a Regulation on measures during the state of emergency, which listed the measures the authorities could apply to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Article 3b of said Regulation stipulates that, with a view to preventing the spread of the infection and mass illegal border crossings, the state may temporarily suspend the use of land by its owners along the borders with the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Bulgaria. A decision on temporary suspension of the right of usage may be adopted by the Ministry of Finance at the recommendation of the State Property Directorate of the Republic of Serbia.

The Regulation ceased to apply on 6 May 2020, when the Serbian National Assembly ended the state of emergency. Data made available by the State Property Directorate of the Republic of Serbia demonstrates that such measures have not been adopted as regards real estate along the border with Bulgaria, but had only been adopted for areas along the border with the Republic of North Macedonia.

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