The Slovenia Times

PM: Slovenia Could Take in 15-20 Refugees


Slovenia showed solidarity in all possible ways, Cerar said, pledging for the country to re-activate its military vessel as of September after it had already participated in Italy's Mare Nostrum operation.

Slovenia's Triglav patrol boat was in 2013 and the beginning of 2014 involved in the search and rescue operation that was later replaced with the more limited Triton operation.

Cerar said the summit had taken an important step in ensuring future solidarity and measures that would help prevent an uncontrolled inflow of migrants and the criminal sending of refugees to Europe.

The government's estimates show that four months of operative participation by the Triglav would cost some EUR 1.6m, Cerar said.

Since the sum is substantial, options would be examined for the EU to chip in, but Slovenia is ready to contribute itself, he added.

Slovenia is also willing to participate in the voluntary pilot project to take in refugees to alleviate the burden on the member states facing the biggest pressure of migrations.

Cerar said the number would be determined in consideration of criteria such as the country's size or GDP. "The figure could be roughly between 15 and 20, but these are preliminary estimates."

Speculation ahead of the summit was that member states would commit to offering at least 5,000 resettlement places, but Cerar said EU leaders avoided concrete figures so as not to provoke wrong interpretations.

He said it was right for the European Commission to first analyse the situation.

An Interior Ministry official meanwhile told the press today that migrants that would be admitted as part of the pilot project would get international protection and refugee status in Slovenia.

How many of them Slovenia could admit will be decided after the European Commission presents the project, Nina Gregori of the Internal Administrative Affairs, Migration and Naturalisation Directorate said.

"Refugee status means that they will have permanent residence and that they can stay in Slovenia for the rest of their lives," she said, adding that these persons could also apply to be united with family members to Slovenia on the basis of the aliens act.

EU leaders also agreed to triple funding for the Triton operation so that the funding would be roughly level with that available to the Italian Mare Nostrum operation.

Cerar underscored it was important that any activity in the combat against illegal trafficking such as the seizure and destruction of their boats be conducted in accordance with international law and that the EU work closely with the UN in these efforts.


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