Slovenia denies joint border checks with Austria-Germany

Slovenian Interior Affairs Minister Vesna Gjerkes Znidar on Monday denied media speculation that Slovenian police would jointly conduct checks of refugees with Austrian and German police on the Croatian border.

She assessed that that would increase the danger that of Slovenia becoming a so-called hot spot with a large number of migrants remaining in that country who would not be accepted by Austria and Germany, however, she expressed her expectation that the new government in Croatia would have a more constructive approach to controlling the flow of migrants than the outgoing government.

"We are not conducting talks on joint control with Austria and Germany of our southern border and we exclude that possibility," Slovenia's minister told reporters at a meeting of the parliamentary committee for interior affairs that will consider adopting new measures to regulate the flow of refugees.

The measures are intended to defend Slovenia from the danger of accepting and caring for a large number of migrants on its territory if countries to the north were to shut their borders, primarily Germany and Austria.

Gjerkes Znidar said that Croatia should be registering refugees at its border with Serbia and not on the Slovenian-Croatian border.

On the other hand, Gjerkes Znidar confirmed that as a result of regulations on the transit of migrants constantly changing and Austria's and Germany's dwindling readiness to accept migrants, Slovenia was conducting bilateral negotiations with surrounding countries in an effort to coordinate the flow of refugees.

"We have an active role in proposing necessary measures so that the migrant situation on the western Balkans route is brought under complete control," the minister said, adding that Slovenia would take all the necessary measures to ensure that it does not become a "pocket" for migrants who would come in their thousands and remain in the country for a longer period of time.

Late last week the Austrian daily Kronen Zeitung reported that talks were held between Slovenian and Austrian police over a project of more rigorous surveillance on the Slovenian-Croatian border which would be conducted jointly by Slovenian, Austrian and German police who would check and register refugees and determine who could continue on from Slovenia and those who do not meet the conditions to be granted asylum.

Talks were held late last week in Sentilj, Slovenia's police confirmed without releasing any details, adding that Croatia's chief-of-police had been invited but did not attend.

The Austrian daily notes that Austria wishes to include Croatia in the border control project and that it would be willing to provide technical support as well as police forces.

Slovenia's minister on Monday said that statements by Austrian Chancellor regarding the temporary suspension of the Schengen regime and checks of all passengers on Austria's southern border were nothing new and that Austria was already doing this.

Last update: Mon, 18/01/2016 - 17:16

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