Strong local feeling over the Slovenian fence on the border with the Istrian peninsula in Croatia is attracting coordinated opposition on both sides of the border.
Ten mayors from Istria and the Slovenian coastal areas met on Wednesday at the Croatian-Slovenian border at Dragonja, publicly calling on Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar to remove the barbed wire fence from that section of the border. They have agreed to ask for a meeting with Cerar and demand for the fence to be removed, since there are no illegal crossings in that area. They will also present their views about the damage that the fence is doing to the tourist industry in the region, reports Tportal and Vecernji List on December 17, 2015.
In addition, the mayors announced that protests of the local population of Istria and the Slovenian coastal areas against the fence will be held on Saturday. Rally “Against Wires, For Humane Europe” will be held at 11 am in Brezovica, and three hours later at the Istrian border crossings. The mayors also supported the online expression of dissatisfaction with the fence, including the latest initiative Against the Wire Fences in Istria, which has appeared on Facebook.
Slovenia has so far set up 140 kilometres of razor wire fence on its border with Croatia. Slovenian Interior Ministry said that the fence is being constructed at various sections of the border because there could be changes in migration routes. “The decision of the government to set up barriers along the entire border is fully justified because migration flows can change”, the Ministry said. In order to reduce the danger for animals, the government is planning to hold a meeting with hunting associations and allows for the possibility of setting up localized “openings” in the fence for migrating animals.
“The lack of mutual solidarity of European countries in the current refugee crisis could trigger a process of disintegration of the EU”, said on Wednesday Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar. Commenting on the current problems of the European Union, Cerar said that the migrant crisis surprised Europe. “Europe is facing big challenges. Refugees must not be equated with terrorism, but if the refugee issue is not resolved jointly and if each country starts acting selfishly, then this will be the end of Europe as a success story”, the Slovenian Prime Minister said.
Due to the closure of the borders for economic migrants and dangerous Aegean Sea, migrants have lately found a new route. The main route now goes by plane from Istanbul to the capital of Mali, Bamako, because migrants do not need visas for that country. Then they continue to Algeria, where they are met by smugglers who lead them through Morocco to Spain, specifically to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the Mediterranean coast.
The new route through Africa has been established after the closure of European borders for economic migrants and dangerous passage over the Aegean Sea for refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, for whom the borders remain open. Although the trip is long and difficult, Syrians and other migrants who have already arrived in Spain say that it is much safer and cheaper than the Balkan route. The route from Turkey to Europe over the Balkans costs between 5,000 and 6,000 euros per migrant, while the new African route costs about 3,000 euros. It is likely that this route will be mostly used by economic migrants who want to reach Europe.