miro cerar.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ STA/Tamino Petelinsek/ ua

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has said that he is not a nationalist but a patriot who wants to protect Slovenia from an excessive refugee influx if Europe does not find a common solution, even by using a fence and the army, and a poll shows that a majority of Slovenians support that.

"I'm not a nationalist but a patriot, but there are lines which Europe can't cross," he says in Maribor's Vecer daily of Saturday, dismissing views that by announcing the setting up of a barbed wire fence on the Croatian border, he is giving in to nationalist political currents which have been making such demands since refugees began arriving in Slovenia. So far more than 150,000 migrants have passed through Slovenia.

"It's easy to say that repression isn't the right answer, but what to do when people keep entering your house? No European state will allow such a situation. There are lines that can't be crossed," Cerar said.

"We are still waiting for a common European solution to this crisis. If none is found, in an extreme situation the borders will eventually have to be defended with wire, the police, even the army. It's no longer just a hypothesis," Cerar was quoted as saying.

The Slovenian parliament on Thursday discussed the possibility of tightening the control of the transit of migrants across the Slovenian-Croatian border, which is also a Schengen Area border. Cerar said in parliament on that occasion that the situation depended on Germany and Austria, that Slovenia would follow suit and that it might act independently and resolutely, although the border would not be sealed off.

The media have said that Slovenia has already procured large quantities of fence and barbed wire to stop migrants from crossing the border.

Slovenia's STA news agency today published the findings of a poll according to which 79 percent of Slovenians think that Slovenia must close its southern border to migrants as soon as Germany and Austria introduce major restrictions in the reception of refugees and asylum seekers.

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