The Slovenian army will start dismantling the fence along the border with Croatia from the second half of next week, Slovenian Interior Minister Tatjana Bobnar announced on Friday at a press conference following a government meeting.
Slovenia’s new approach to migration
“Migration is a part of modern societies, so the most effective migration policy is to ensure safe and legal migration,” Tatjana Bobnar said.
One of the priorities of the new left-wing government led by Robert Golob is to dismantle the fence.
FactBack in 2015, Slovenia built a 176-kilometer-long razor-wire fence on its 670-kilometer border with Croatia to stem the migration flow. This was later gradually replaced by a panel fence and extended. Currently, 135 kilometers of bladed wire fence and 60 kilometers of panel fence are stretched along the common border.
At Bobnar’s initiative, the ministry has also set up a new advisory board to promote safer migration routes, more efficient asylum procedures and residence permits, and easier conditions for international protection and social integration.
According to Bobnar, asylum seekers must be systematically integrated into society and the labor market, given the opportunity to learn languages, and prevented from being exploited by workers.
The committee has already instructed the police to pay particular attention to the protection of vulnerable groups, to ensure that applicants for international protection are treated individually, and to record that they have been informed of their rights, the minister said, adding that the police will continue to ensure security and protect state borders using the means they have so far and with their presence on the ground.
“Well, that is how it goes: In Slovenia, the left has come to power, and it follows that the border fence that protects the country against migration pressure for almost 200 kilometers is being dismantled,” Csaba Dömötör, the Minister of State of the Prime Minister’s Office wrote on Facebook on Saturday.
In his post, Dömötör wrote that the Slovenian left is playing with a straight face instead of a “sneaky-backward” approach. “It is good to follow the Slovenian example. They are doing what their comrades at home would do if they could get close to the helm,” he wrote.
He remarked that the migration debate has been with us for many years, but that does not mean it has lost its importance. In addition, the effects of the war (such as the rise in food prices) will put more pressure on us in the coming months, he said.
Between January 1 and June 6 of last year, 47,000 border crossers were apprehended at the southern border; this year 110,000, a doubling of the number of illegal arrivals and a 92% increase in the number of people smugglers apprehended, the Secretary of State said.
He added that this is why the new border fighter units are needed.
“There are many conditions for protecting borders, but one of the most important is that the left must not be allowed back into government,” said Csaba Dömötör.
Featured image: A razor-wire fence on the Slovenian-Croatian border at Murafüred (Gibina) on December 3, 2015. Photo by György Varga/MTI