The Slovenia Times

Brussels gives instructions on EU border checks


Slovenian Interior Ministry State Secretary Boštjan Šefic said after meeting his Croatian counterpart Robert Kopal and European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos on Thursday that the Commission's latest guidelines bring nothing new and only give instructions to allow more effective border checks while ensuring a better traffic flow.

The state secretary stressed that switching from systematic to only targeted checks was reasonable especially at the peak of the tourist season, however, the condition that security needs to be ensured at all times remains.

Among other things, the Commission's guidelines state that until Croatia enters the Schengen information system on 27 June Slovenia should systematically check all incoming passengers from Croatia and use targeted checks for outgoing vehicles, while Croatia should do the other way around.

Moreover, the two countries may switch to targeted checks during rush hours during the tourist season, but should also reinforce the staffing at border crossings in this period and communicate and coordinate their activities.

Šefic's comments and the Commission's guidelines indicate that it is hard to expect a realisation of the deal reached end of April by EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Slovenian and Croatian prime ministers Miro Cerar and Andrej Plenković allowing a shift to targeted check-ups when waiting times at the border exceed 15 minutes.

Šefic stressed that finding a solution for the congestions on the Slovenian-Croatian border was not about bilateral deals but about the Commission's instructions on how to interpret EU legislation.

On the other hand, Kopal said after the meeting that the three sides were still at the table discussing how to realise the April political deal, which he expects can be implemented if Slovenia is willing.

He said a document formalising the deal is in the draft stage and the details of how to implement the trilateral deal are to be negotiated by the end of the month.

Attending an EU Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting, Šefic also held a series of bilateral talks on extended border controls on internal Schengen borders, which Slovenia wants lifted as soon as possible.

Šefic said he made it clear to partners from Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland and Slovakia that there was no longer any reason to keep controls on the border between Slovenia and Austria, which have recently been extended for another six months.


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