The Slovenia Times

Slovenia condemns Brussels attacks, police tighten security


Although Prime Minister Miro Cerar said there was currently no reason to raise the security threat level, Slovenian police have been instructed to tighten up security measures.

In response to the attacks, which claimed 34 lives according to the latest reports, Cerar convened a meeting of an inter-ministerial anti-terrorism task force, which found "there is currently no data that would call for increasing the security threat level in our country due to terrorism".

The threat level was raised in neighbouring Croatia and Hungary and while the situation is expected to be reassessed by the National Security Council, Cerar added that "the attacks in Brussels do not directly affect the security situation in Slovenia".

Still, Police Commissioner Marjan Fank said Slovenian police had been instructed to tighten up security measures on border crossings and international airports.

He told the press that the police had also been instructed to "monitor certain individuals in the country" and pay special attention to larger public gatherings.

A Slovenian diplomat was injured in the explosion at the Maalbeek metro station but did not sustain life-threatening injuries. Cerar said that the Slovenian institutions in Brussels had taken all the necessary additional security measures.

Meanwhile, expressions of condolences and condemnation of the attacks have come from all top Slovenian officials as well as parties, although opinions diverged on whether the bombings should be linked to the migration crisis.

Cerar said that this was another attack on the fundamental values of European society - democracy, human rights, tolerance, solidarity and peace.

"We will continue to support these values, even more resolutely, after today's events," the prime minister underscored.

This was echoed by parliamentary Speaker Milan Brglez and President Borut Pahor, who called the attacks a "despicable act" aimed at sowing panic at the very heart of Europe.

Condemnation and solidarity was also expressed by parties, but while left-leaning parties argued against fear and hatred and against blaming refugees, who are "victims of terror rather than its cause", the two right-leaning opposition parties focused on security.

Branko Grims, an MP for the Democratic Party (SDS), argued that "misguided migration policy" boomeranged on Europe and that the tragedy clearly demonstrated that problems had only just begun. Grims argued that the only safe policy for Slovenia was not to accept a single migrant more.

Security expert Bojan Dobovšek, who is also the head of the unaffiliated MP group, meanwhile agreed that the attack was most likely connected to immigration, albeit probably not to the latest wave but to immigration waves from the past.

He said that terrorists were picking targets where it was possible to sow as much panic and damage as possible. From this aspect Slovenia is not as appealing, he suggested for the STA in response to questions about the threat level in the country.

Reactions also came from the the Slovenian Bishops' Conference, which expressed sadness and called for prayer for the victims and their families, as well as from the Islamic Community in Slovenia, which strongly condemned the attacks and expressed deep compassion with the victims' families and the entire Belgian nation.

Brussels was hit by three explosions this morning. The first two took place at the airport of the Belgian capital, claiming 14 lives and injuring 92 people. Later a bomb went off at Maalbeek station near the EU institutions, killing 20 people and leaving 106 injured.


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