Following Italy’s announcement to reintroduce controls on its border with Slovenia, Slovenia is also introducing controls on its Schengen internal borders with Croatia and Hungary. Slovenian Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar announced Wednesday evening that the government will decide this on Thursday.
Ljubljana also justifies the reintroduction of border controls on the grounds of an increased terrorist threat. “The terrorist threat in Europe is high. We see what is happening in France and Belgium. It is a security measure. We still want to carry out additional controls at the former border crossings on the Western Balkans route, where strangers cross the border illegally,” Poklukar told news portal N1.
“With this, we will strengthen Slovenia’s security,” he added. “We don’t want radical people or people with terrorist intentions to come through the Western Balkans route. That is why the police will carry out selective controls at the borders with Croatia and Hungary,” the interior minister told private broadcaster POP TV.
According to the Slovenian interior minister, the controls will be a temporary measure. Slovenia wants to introduce them similar to Italy initially for two months with the possibility of an extension, confirmed Poklukar. On Wednesday, he had already informed his counterparts in the two neighbouring countries about this.
On Wednesday, due to the escalation in the Middle East conflict and the heightened security situation in Europe, the threat rating for terrorism in Slovenia was also raised from low to medium. This is the third level on a five-level terrorist threat scale.
Slovenia had already tightened police controls in the border area with Croatia at the end of September because of the sharp increase in migration. Although Slovenian authorities did not express their displeasure with Croatia’s protection of its external border directly, they hinted at it by repeatedly providing the neighboring nation with bilateral border security assistance and calling for the deployment of Frontex, the EU’s border protection agency.
“The figure of more than 40,000 illegal border crossings across the Slovenian border (with Croatia, note) says it all,” Poklukar commented to N1 on Wednesday. In doing so, he rejected the interpretation that the current controls are being introduced because of migration.
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