Monday

19th Aug 2019

Refugee case could topple Slovenia government

  • Cerar wanted to let Shamieh stay on humanitarian grounds (Photo: European council)

The Slovenian government is at risk of collapse over the fate of a single Syrian refugee - who faces deportation to Croatia under EU rules.

The case of Ahmad Shamieh gathered force last week when the ruling liberal party of prime minister Miro Cerar, the SMC, took the 60-year old man under its protection.

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

  • Scenes at the Slovenian border at the height of the refugee crisis (Photo: Eszter Zalan)

Shamieh, who arrived in Slovenia in late 2015, but who entered EU territory via Croatia, is threatened with deportation under the EU's so-called 'Dublin' asylum rule, which says that the point-of-entry state should take care of applicants.

Cerar's party wanted to bypass Dublin under another law, the Aliens Act, which would allow Shamieh temporary residence in Slovenia on grounds of the effort he had made to integrate in Slovenian society.

Shamieh has learned to speak Slovenian and has taken part in a list of cultural and humanitarian projects which earned him a good name in his community.

The case exploded when four MPs from liberal and left-leaning parties took up his cause to stop a deportation order.

Two of them, Jan Skoberne, from the left-wing SD party in the ruling coalition, and Mihe Kordis, an MP from the left-wing opposition Levica party, picketed Shamieh's home alongside local supporters and later took him to the parliament building to stop police from taking him away.

But as of last Friday, Cerar had failed to get a government consensus to let Shamieh stay, the deportation order remained in place, and the Syrian man was hospitalised for a nervous breakdown.

As of Monday (20 November), the Slovenian prime minister also faced calls for his impeachment from the conservative opposition SDS party as well as stark warnings of a coalition withdrawal by the centrist DeSUS party of foreign minister and deputy prime minister Karl Erjavec.

Erjavec said Cerar had "abused" the situation and that his failure to enact the deportation was "illegal".

He said the "more elegant option" would be to send Shamieh to Croatia and then to let him come back to Slovenia on a temporary passport.

He said no harm would come to him in Croatia, adding: "After all, every year 1 million Slovenians [tourists] travel there".

The Shamieh case throws into relief the politics of the EU migration crisis in central and eastern Europe.

Slovenia has taken in 335 people from Greece and Italy out of its EU burden-sharing quota of 567.

But several governments in the region - including Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia - have boycotted the EU scheme in order to court right-wing votes.

They have also stoked public fear over the potential terrorist threat posed by Muslim migrants.

The next Slovenian election is due in July 2018.

An opinion poll for the Delo newspaper on Monday said a small majority of people felt that the SDS impeachment motion was not warranted.

A Delo opinion poll in October said the refugee-friendly SD party was the most popular with 16.4 percent support, followed by the refugee-hostile SDS on 15 percent, and Cerar's SMC on 11.9 percent. Erjavec's DeSUS party got 5.5 percent.

Nepal units arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency

The UN is sending guards to Libya to provide security for staff working with the UN refugee agency and other UN missions inside compound premises in Tripoli. The agency's work in Libya is broadly funded by the EU.

Anti-immigrant party wins Slovenia election

Some 25 percent of Slovenians have voted for the anti-immigrant Slovenia Democratic party headed by Janez Jansa, a former PM who spent six months in jail for corruption.

Feature

EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock

No EU country willing to open its ports for the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, with France and others turning to the European Commission for help.

EU targets Hungary for denying food to migrants

At least 25 people stuck in Hungary's transit zones along the Serb border have been denied food, with one case lasting eight days. On Thursday, the European Commission threatened the risks of sanctions against Hungary over the issue.

EU guilty of Libya migrant 'tragedy', ICC lawsuit says

EU states' efforts to "deter" migrants from Libya have helped kill more than 14,000 people and exposed 40,000 others to "crimes against humanity", according to a lawsuit filed in The Hague on Monday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU ends silence on Hong Kong protests
  2. Is Salvini closing just harbours or also the rule of law?
  3. No-deal Brexit would seriously harm UK, leaked paper says
  4. Selmayr did not keep formal records of lobby meetings
  5. EU asked to solve migrant rescue deadlock
  6. Internal EU paper: Second Brexit vote was no longer 'distant dream'
  7. EU has 'zero incentive' to break open 'trilogue' deals
  8. Denmark plans import ban on EU-approved pesticide

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us