Extortion at Bulgarian border must be stopped

20 July 2009

Extortion at Bulgarian border must be stopped

SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel is urging the government to demand that Bulgaria tackle corrupt border guards who are swindling money from holidaymakers travelling to Turkey. People going into Turkey via the Bulgarian border are being asked to provide a medical certificate stating that they do not have Mexican swine flu. If they cannot do so, they are forced to pay. “This is a straightforward swindle," says Van Bommel. "Corrupt border guards dream up some new scheme every year to line their pockets at the expense of holidaymakers. Bulgaria is an EU member state, and this shouldn't be allowed to continue."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bulgarian Embassy warn travellers about the practice and give them the opportunity to print out an official declaration that no such medical certificate is necessary. If, despite this, they are subject to the swindle, those affected can lodge a complaint. Van Bommel, however, does not find this a satisfactory solution. "It's completely inadequate,": he says. "It does nothing to address the real problem. It expects travellers to deal with it themselves. It's time the minister raised the matter at European level and that real solutions are proposed, such as the dismissal of corrupt border guards."

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