Slovenia denies agreeing with Merkel tightened refugee controls

The Office of Slovenia's Prime Minister Miro Cerar on Thursday denied that during his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin earlier in the day, he had spoken about tightening procedures for migrants on the border with Croatia in cooperation with German and Austrian police.

The Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reported about a plan for stepped-up border controls as of Friday, and Slovenia's press agency STA has carried those allegations.

According to these media outlets, Slovenia, Austria and Germany have prepared a plan to stop the refugee wave which includes more rigorous surveillance on the Slovenian-Croatian border which would be conducted jointly by Slovenian, Austrian and German police.

Cerar and Merkel reportedly spoke about the agreement which had been reached in principle, however, Cerar did not confirm this information and Merkel did not make any statements after the meeting. Slovenia's media nevertheless have reported that Merkel said that Germany would not close its border to migrants.

In support of its claims that something is cooking, STA notes that German and Austrian police could soon join Hungarian and Estonian police forces on Slovenia's border with Croatia. Germany's Spiegel daily has reported similarly, once again referring to unofficial sources in Austria.

According to the Kronen Zeitung, all three governments have reached an agreement in principle while Slovenia's police did not wish to confirm this but have said that talks at various levels are still underway and that nothing has been concluded finally.

Merkel did not give any statements after a brief meeting with Cerar in Berlin on the margins of a business forum. Cerar, though, said that they discussed the migrant crisis as Slovenia fears that it could be swamped by refugees if Germany shuts its doors to migrants. He proposed that the European Union strengthens controlling its external borders as well as a "second line" in defence of Europe from "illegal or irregular migrants," whereby helping Macedonia in efforts to control its border with Greece.

If Europe does not take a concerted action  in a few weeks to resolve the migrant crisis, the EU could fall apart, Cerar said after the meeting with Merkel as cited by Slovenian media.

Announcing today's events Slovenian media have over the past few days extensively reported how Slovenia has braced itself for all scenarios in the refugee crisis which has been going on for too long and that it could erect a wire fence along its entire border with Croatia, should circumstances call for that.

The media outlines some circumstances when that would be necessary such as the case if Germany were to completely stop the intake of refugees and if Austria were to join in. In that case Slovenia could be faced with a huge number of refugees and would not be able to return them anywhere, as it is considered to be a secure country.

On the other hand, Slovenia's police on Thursday said that things were continuing as normal and that there were no extraordinary circumstances that required any special measures.

Last update: Thu, 14/01/2016 - 20:13

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