Slovenia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Davor Božinović, has urged his Croatian counterpart, Minister Boštjan Poklukar to undertake new measures at the joint borders in order to tackle the increasing number of migrants crossing the border between the two countries through irregular routes.
During a phone conversation on September 12, Minister Božinović has pointed out to Poklukar that, in particular, the number of migrants has increased in the area of the municipality of Brežice, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to a statement issued by the same Ministry, the Slovenian police have already taken new measures to strengthen control in this area, including a helicopter patrolling the borders and additional police staff.
On this occasion, Minister Poklukar suggested that this type of control be strengthened on the Croatian side as well. He also offered the help of the Slovenian police in protecting the external border of the European Union.
Throughout their conversation, both ministers came to the conclusion that in addition to strengthened controls at the common borders, more should be done in order to tackle migration coming through the Western Balkan routes.
They further agreed that cooperation with partner countries is of utmost importance in order to prevent illegal migration.
According to statistics by Slovenian police, more than 36,000 migrants were apprehended at the country’s borders in the first eight months of this year, three times more the 15,00 migrants detected in the same period in 2022. More than 34,000 of those apprehended this year have been detected on the land border with Croatia.
The majority of them remain in Slovenia for only a short time and then leave towards Western European countries without waiting for their asylum applications to even be processed.
Even with asylum seekers leaving quickly, the country’s asylum centre in Ljubljana is already at its full capacity, with migrants being accommodated in hallways due to their high numbers.
The number of migrants increased this year after Croatia joined the Schengen Area on January 1, thus removing border controls with Slovenia, among others. Most migrants reach Croatia through Serbia and then tend to pass through Slovenia towards countries like Germany and France.
According to the EU border agency, the Western Balkan route is the second most active route in the first seven months of 2023, with over a total of 52,200 detections. Throughout the same period, 176,100 people attempted to reach the EU countries by crossing the bloc’s external borders through irregular routes accounting for the highest total registered for the January-July period since 2016.
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