Slovenian MPs discuss the border crisis with Croatia.
Several members of the Slovenian parliament from different parties have expressed concern about the possibility that Germany and other countries could return some of the refugees who have passed through Slovenia to the country after they refuse their asylum requests. The MPs have also criticized the alleged lack of cooperation of Croatia, reports Index.hr on January 9, 2016.
“Slovenia is getting more and more vulnerable due to the migrant crisis”, said Branko Grims from the opposition Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) led by former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša. Speaking to reporters after the closed meeting of the Committee on Security and Intelligence Services, Grims said that half of the migrants on the Balkan route so far have passed through Slovenia, which could be crucial if the Western countries which are currently accommodating the migrants refuse their asylum requests and start returning them to countries from which they came from.
“If these countries decide to return the migrants to Slovenia, it would be a disaster for us”, said Grims, adding that he was not satisfied with the decision of the government that, if that happens, it would not accept them, since it would be under strong pressure to do so and it would not be able to forward the refugees to other countries on the Balkan route. Grims also warned about the growing closure of the northern Slovenian borders, particularly of the border with Austria which has built several kilometres of wire fences next to the Šentilj border crossing to better regulate the migrant inflows. “In a certain way, neighbouring countries has started to exclude us from the Schengen Area. Border controls with Austria are stricter than they were when Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia”, said the opposition lawmaker.
After the meeting, several MPs from other parties criticized Croatian behaviour during the migrant crisis, which was allegedly destructive. They have accused Croatia of refusing to engage in a dialogue on how to reduce the refugee wave. “The biggest problem is the lack of dialogue with Croatia. That problem should be addressed by including more countries, such as Austria, Germany and Italy”, said Matjaž Nemec, a member of the Social Democrats (SD) and former advisor to Slovenian President Borut Pahor.
Matej Tonin, a member of New Slovenia (NSI), said that, if Slovenia were to announce that it would no longer receive any more refugees, Croatia would try to send them anyway. “There will be a major conflict and we have to prepare ourselves well, because we will have to stop the pressure of migrants on our southern border”, said Tonin.
Slovenian media report that the opposition intends to request a special session of parliament on the refugee issue, and to propose to the government to complete the construction of the fence along the southern border with Croatia, and also to formally join the Visegrad group of countries which have made clear that they are not ready to receive migrants and refugees.