Bulgaria’s parliament voted on July 20 to bar the government from signing bilateral agreements with other European Union countries on readmitting migrants who have arrived in Europe via the Black Sea state.
Backed by a vast majority of legislators across party lines, parliament approved a resolution barring the government from signing readmission agreements and proposed reforms to the EU’s asylum rules, Reuters reported on July 21.
Currently, migrants are supposed to be returned to the countries where they first entered the EU and applied for asylum, but such regulations have been rarely enforced.
Bulgaria, which has sealed off its border with Turkey with a barbed wire fence to prevent the country becoming the new gateway to Europe, is now calling for the closure of all external EU borders to migrants and for refugee camps to be set up in Libya and Turkey.
Hungary approves bill to impose tax on pro-migration groups
Hungarian lawmakers have approved a 25 percent tax on financial or material support for groups promoting migration, the Associated Press reported on July 21.
The special tax embodies the anti-migrant policies of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who says mass entry into Europe by mainly Muslim migrants threatens the continent’s Christian culture.
The bill, passed July 20 as part of wider changes to Hungary’s tax laws, says revenues from the new tax can be used only on border defense.
According to the bill, the promotion of migration includes media campaigns, seminars and “propaganda activities presenting immigration in a positive light.”
Revenues from the special tax are meant to offset state expenditures resulting from increased migration, supposedly caused by the aid groups’ activities.
Amnesty International said the new levy is a punitive tax on organizations, “which think and say differently from the government on migration.”