The razor-wire fence Slovenia has been putting up on its border with Croatia over the past few days has caused dissatisfaction among the population on both sides of the border because wild animals are being caught in the fence, prompting Croatian member of the European Parliament Tonino Picula to submit an official query to the European Commission in that regard.
"Without wishing to enter into any discussion about the legal grounds for putting up the contentious fence, which often has not strictly followed the border between the two countries, or about its symbolic meaning, which is in contradiction to European Union principles, do you plan to take steps to prevent the suffering of wildlife on the border?" Picula asked the EC, according to a statement from his office.
Picula underscored that since last month, Croatia has been the only EU member state literally fenced off along its land border from neighbouring countries - Slovenia and Hungary - and with that, from the rest of the European Union. He also stressed that despite initial condemnation, the continued work on putting up the fence has not prompted similar reactions and condemnation from EU institutions even though refugees and migrants are transiting along agreed routes, via border crossings, coordinated by border police in each of the countries along that route.
"The first victims of Slovenia's policy, apart from good neighbourly relations and cross-border communication, are wild animals as their habitats do not recognise formal territorial demarcation between countries," Picula added.
"The fact that animals are suffering is just part of the problem caused by the fact that work on putting up the fence on the border with Croatia has continued despite Croatia's protest notes and dissatisfaction of local residents on both sides of the border. However, while we are waiting for a concrete European response to the migrant crisis, I believe that this problem should be raised in public and that it calls for an urgent response," Picula concluded.