SOFIA, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Migrants' attempts to illegally enter Bulgaria across the border with Greece increased in 2018 and the trend continued, an official said here on Thursday.
In 2018, 4,662 migrants have tried to illegally enter Bulgaria from Greece, which was approximately a six-fold increase compared to 2017, Svetlan Kichikov, chief of Bulgaria's border police, said at a roundtable discussion on the protection of the European Union borders.
Since the beginning of this year, there has been a steady increase in attempts to illegally cross the Bulgarian-Greek border, Kichikov said, adding that in the first quarter of 2019 the number stood at 305, up 78 percent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, attempts to illegally enter Bulgaria from Turkey last year declined by 23 percent compared with 2017 to 5,311, Kichikov said. From January to March 2019, the attempts numbered 370, down by 23 percent year-on-year, he said.
"Bulgaria is a transit country and a final destination for illegal migration. The country is located on the Eastern Mediterranean route and the threat of migratory pressure is conditioned by the situation in Greece and Turkey," Kichikov also said.