Slovenia Comments on Possible New Migrant Route Through Croatia

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Slovenian prime minister claims that migrants are arriving to Slovenia through Croatia via the Adriatic route. His foreign minister says otherwise.

Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec tried to clarify a statement by Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar who on Friday spoke about alleged opening of the Adriatic route through which migrants could reach Croatian part of Istria and then enter Slovenia. Cerar’s statement surprised Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković as well, reports on February 4, 2017.

Commenting on the statement which Cerar gave to reporters during an informal EU summit in Malta, where one of the topics was the Central Mediterranean migrant route, Erjavec said there were very few illegal crossings of the border in the Istrian part of the Croatian-Slovenian border line, but added that Slovenian police did note that those who are involved in organized smuggling of people were thinking about the route.

“This is not some kind of mass migration route, but our police sees that organized crime groups involved in human trafficking are looking for a way to reach Istria”, said Erjavec for Slovenian Television, adding that he hoped it would not become a mass phenomenon. Asked how was it possible that this phenomenon has not been seen by Croatian police, Erjavec said that it was surprising. “If they say they have no knowledge about it, it is surprising and it is difficult to comment on it”, said Erjavec.

Arriving at the summit, Cerar expressed his concern about the move by Austria which received an approval by the European Commission to introduce intensified supervision on the border with Slovenia due to a possible new migrant crisis. He warned of the danger in which Slovenia could find itself if it were to turn into a “hot spot” for migrants. He also said that it was necessary to keep the Balkan route closed.

He also mentioned that it was in Slovenia’s interest for the illegal crossings of refugees over the Mediterranean to be stopped because otherwise the “Adriatic route” could be opened, which would bring migrants to Slovenia via the Croatian part of Istria. He added that there were such attempts in recent months. “The route through the Adriatic Sea to Istria has been opened”, said Cerar.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was surprised by Cerar’s statement. He said that he had no knowledge about the new “Adriatic” route which would allow migrants to reach Slovenia through Istria. “Maybe this is some kind of misunderstanding, there may be an influx of migrants coming to Slovenia through Italy, but I as prime minister do not have any knowledge from the security services that the Adriatic route has been opened, which would assume the arrival of ships through the Strait of Otranto to Istria. We have not noticed that so far, nor have I noticed that Prime Minister Cerar said anything about it during the meeting”, said Plenković.


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