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Slovenian police have reported 2437 illegal border crossings, which is 327 percent more than in the same period last year. Foto: EPA

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“Slovenian police are doing a very good job defending the Schengen border”

11. June 2018 ob 19:37
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

The number of illegal border crossings is still increasing. In the first five months of this year, Slovenian police have reported 2437 illegal border crossings, which is 327 percent more than in the same period last year. Improved weather conditions and a new route through Bosnia-Herzegovina are among the chief reasons for the increase. Both the Interior Ministry and the Police are assuring the public that Slovenia is monitoring the situation along the migration routes.

The most illegal crossings within the past five months – 1989, or more than 80 percent – happened in the jurisdictions of the Novo Mesto and the Koper Police Departments. This is four times more than in the same period last year. The situation is under control – in part because of increased surveillance along the border, as well as inside the country, according to the Interior Minister.

Acting Interior Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar cautions that one of the challenges will come in the form of asylum claims being used to avoid police procedures entailing the return of migrants to their countries of origin.

In the area of Bela Krajina, illegal crossings are scattered along the Kolpa River, particularly because temporary barriers are missing in some areas, while the decision whether to build a new fence is still pending. “In part because of the current staffing levels of the police, the temporary barriers represent an important part of the Schengen border monitoring process,” adds the minister.

Even though Slovenian police officers have detained more than 50 people for smuggling migrants across the border, there aren’t enough officers on the ground, so 400 reserve police officers need to be brought in.

The Director General Simon Velički emphasized that 400 reserve police officers are standing by and are trained to carry out all the necessary tasks. They include 200 officers who have retired from full-time police work and are experts in their fields.

The Interior Minister added that Austria has no reason to close its border, since the Slovenian police are doing a good job protecting the external Schengen border, as is evidenced by the small number of migrants returned from Austria to Slovenia.

Nina Mrzlikar, TV Slovenia; translated by J. B.
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