Slovenia on Monday deployed 35 troops along the border with Italy to help the police in stopping the influx of illegal migrants.
Interior Minister Bostjan Poklukar told a press conference that the move was prompted by an increase in the number of illegal migrants being smuggled from Croatia to Slovenia and on to Italy.
Asked when and where 40 kilometres of new physical barriers would be erected on the border with Croatia, as recently announced in parliament by Prime Minister Marjan Sarec, Poklukar said that this was confidential information and that additional barriers would be set up where and when necessary.
The Slovenian army deployed the 35 troops at the request of the police, along with surveillance equipment, drones, helicopters and armoured vehicles.
Slovenian radio quoted some analysts as describing this as a populist move aimed at reassuring local government leaders in areas bordering Italy, as well as a measure that should stem the tide of new migrants.
The Slovenian Police Union said that the troop deployment would not help much and that most of the police work regarding migration concerned administrative work such as registration of illegal migrants and returning them to Croatia. It said that more than half the migrants caught in Slovenia were sent back to Croatia under a readmission agreement.
Poklukar said that one of the reasons for the troop deployment was an incident that occurred last Friday when police discovered about 120 illegal migrants camping in a wood near the coastal town of Koper. They scattered in small groups, but were caught the same and next day and returned to Croatia.