The Slovenia Times

Security council suggests government to give army police powers


The move comes after Austria announced tighter border controls to stem the migrant flow into the country.

The government presented to the council extra measures to tackle the current migration situation. The council agreed to all the proposals, including the proposal to ask the National Assembly to give the army limited police powers, Erjavec said after the meeting of the council.

Parliament, which can give the powers to the army with a two-thirds majority, will discuss the proposal next week, with the parliamentary Defence Committee meeting to debate the issue as early as this Thursday or Friday, according to unofficial information.

MP Branko Grims of the opposition Democrats (SDS) told the press after the session of the council that the SDS would do everything in its power to ensure the safety and integrity of women and children in Slovenia and the abidance of laws on the border as well as inland. The SDS will back any proposal towards the realisation of these goals.

However, there is "precious little time" with the number of migrants stranded in Slovenia due to Austria's measures starting to grow. He added that the council today had not discussed daily quotas for migrants wanting to enter the country.

"When this problem becomes greater, our neighbours will be less willing to help us tackle it," Grims moreover stressed, reiterating the party's warnings that Slovenia had been de facto excluded from the Schengen.

Head of the coalition Social Democrats (SD) Dejan Židan meanwhile told the press ahead of the cabinet meeting that the situation was deteriorating because of Austria's measures.

"There is neither need nor capability for Slovenia to become the buffer for migrants," he said, pointing to the domino effect in mitigating the migration flow.

Touching on the EU agreement with Turkey, Židan stressed that it seemed countries had to resort to plan B, that is to stem the migration flow by themselves.

Židan said several days ago that the domino effect meant the beginning of the end for the Schengen area. It has not started yet, but should the countries fail in coming up with a common solution, activities will begin that could really mean the end of the no-borders area, he believes.

The legislative changes that allow giving the army police powers were passed in October in the face of the refugee crisis so that soldiers could help the police at the border. However, earlier this month the Human Rights Ombudsman initiated a constitutional review of the legislative provisions.

The ombudsman was prompted to act against the changes by the Ljubljana-based station Radio Študent, which had unsuccessfully attempted to organise a referendum on the issue.

At the time, Deputy Ombudsman Ivan Šelih explained that while the ombudsman did not share the radio station's view that the army should not perform the extra tasks, it agreed that the law defined them too vaguely.


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