Slovenian interior minister complains that migrants keep coming via Croatia

NEWS 01.12.2021 16:10
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Source: Ilustracija: Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Slovenian Interior Minister Ales Hojs said in an interview with the Delo newspaper of Wednesday that Slovenia supports Croatia's bid to join the Schengen passport-free travel area, but complained that illegal migrants keep coming to Slovenia from Croatia.

Commenting on reports by non-governmental organisations that Slovenia is pushing migrants back to Croatia in breach of international conventions, Hojs said that to his knowledge the Slovenian border police have never done that, but that they turn illegal migrants back to Croatia based on the bilateral readmission agreement.

This had worked very well until a month or two ago when things changed. We have noticed that the Croats are informally advising migrants to seek asylum in Slovenia, Hojs told the leading Slovenian daily newspaper.

He noted that the number of asylum applications filed by migrants in Slovenia has increased in the past two years, even though the number of migrants entering the country is lower than it has been in previous years.

In the first ten months of this year, Slovenian police stopped about 8,000 migrants, which is fewer than last year. However, it plans to keep the barriers along the green border with Croatia in place even after Croatia joins the Schengen area and to carry out checks similar to those performed by Austria on its border with Slovenia, even though both countries are Schengen members, Hojs said.

He reiterated that Slovenia is generally in favour of expanding the Schengen zone to include Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia. He said that Ljubljana was particularly interested in admitting Croatia in order to close the Balkan migrant route towards Slovenia and central Europe.

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