The Slovenia Times

Slovenia Marks Five Years Since Joining Schengen Area


Slovenia did away with internal border controls on land and sea on 21 December 2007, while it took until 30 March 2008 for the Schengen Agreement to be implemented for airports.

Some 420 million people live in the border-free area which comprises 26 countries, including non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Among EU countries only Ireland and the United Kingdom opted out, while Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania are set to implement the Schengen Agreement at a later time.

While allowing free travel among member countries, the Schengen area intensified controls on its external borders to crack down on cross-border crime. Slovenia's external border is limited to Croatia, as its other neighbours Austria, Italy and Hungary are all members of Schengen.

The country's section comprises 670 km of land border and 48 km of border on sea, featuring 54 border crossings, of which 17 are international crossings, ten interstate crossings, six railway crossings and 21 are local border crossings. According to police data, some 51 million people and 22 million vehicles pass the border every year.

The Slovenian police discover almost 900 fake or altered documents on the external border each year, most of them being driving licences, border control stamps and passports. Most common transgressors are citizens of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Apart from fake ID documents, the police discovered 619 stolen vehicles trying to cross the border in the past four years, as well as more than half a tonne of marijuana, over 180 kg of heroin and more than 150 kg of cocaine.

The number of illegal crossings was decreasing between 2007 and 2010, but has been rising over the past two years.

In 2008, the police caught 1,187 illegal migrants trying to cross the border into the travel-free area, but in 2010 the number dropped to 789. However the number rose to 891 cases last year, and 989 in the first ten months of 2012, which is up 40% year-on-year.


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