Monday

17th Jun 2019

Slovenia calls in army to help with refugee influx

  • Migrants and refugees walk to refugee camps in Slovenia as there are not enough buses to transport them (Photo: iom.int)

Slovenia has called in the army to help manage the influx of refugees trying to reach western Europe, and is to ask the EU to send additional police forces to its border with Croatia.

The Ljubljana government on Wednesday (21 October) tweaked the country's defence legislation to allow soldiers to join border police in patrolling the 670-kilometre border with Croatia.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

According to the new measures, Slovenian soldiers can assist police in patrolling the border, detaining people and handing them over to police, as well as issuing orders to civilians in the area.

The Slovenian government said it was "delusional" to expect small countries to succeed where larger ones had failed.

The country of two million has not excluded erecting a fence along its Croatian border.

Slovenia has already deployed 140 soldiers to the border to assist police, state secretary for interior affairs Bostjan Sefic told reporters.

Almost 20,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Slovenia since Saturday, when Hungary sealed off its border with Croatia, forcing the people seeking refuge to take a detour towards Slovenia on their way to Austria and Germany.

Riot police on horseback led thousands of weary refugees marching across fields in Slovenia, as few buses are available to transport them to refugee camps.

Slovenia and Croatia also exchanged insults as Ljubjana complained that Zagreb is ignoring requests for advanced warnings on new arrivals of refugees. Croatia's interior minister Ranko Ostojic insisted that Slovenia was not accepting people quickly enough.

The wave of migrants and refugees has put a strain on the former Yugoslav republics in the region.

With at least 9,000 people landing on Europe's beaches every day, according to UN figures, the wave of migrants and refugees is not expected to decrease despite the approaching winter and the bitterly cold weather on the Balkan trail.

Slovenia's prime minister, Miro Cerar, said his country would also ask the EU for back-up police forces from other member states and additional equipment for its own officers.

Slovenian president Borut Pahor, meeting EU Council president Donald Tusk and EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Tuesday, confirmed that Slovenia will also ask for financial help: "We need fast assistance of the European Union."

EU migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, is expected to visit Slovenia on Thursday to discuss Ljubljana's requests.

In the meantime, thousands of people were stranded in the cold weather along the Croatian-Serbian border, as Croatian authorities struggled to transport people to its border with Slovenia.

News agencies report that at least 12,100 migrants are currently in Serbia, while some 6,000 migrants entered Austria from Slovenia on Tuesday.

EU dragging its feet

The EU's plan to relocate 160,000 people seeking asylum from frontline states Greece and Italy to other member states based on a quota system is lagging behind, according to sources.

Only 19 Eritrean asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy to Sweden so far, AFP reported, and only 6 member states out of the 23 required to do so have offered places for relocation.

Member states have also been slow to follow up with financial help, with only €474 million given out of the €2.8 billion pledged at an emergency EU summit in September.

In the meantime, Frontex, the EU's border agency, said member states had provided less than half of the 775 personnel it had requested to help in Greece and Italy.

Frontex said 291 guards would be deployed to both countries immediately.

Hungary to seal border with Croatia

Hungary will seal its borders with Croatia by midnight, with Zagreb planning to send migrants and refugees to Slovenia.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  2. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  5. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  10. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  11. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  12. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us