The Slovenia Times

Govt Appoints Coordination Group for Refugees


PM Miro Cerar said Slovenia was ready for an influx and Interior Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar indicated the currently planned capacities would be expanded if necessary. Cerar repeated after the session that Slovenia would act in a humane way, "since these are people in distress, who need to be helped". It will also honour the principle of solidarity, which Cerar said meant that it needed to participate in the distribution of burdens when it comes to taking in refugees in the EU.

The government will also consider the integration capacities of the country, "which will be an important criterion" and the element of security, while making sure that the country functions in an undisturbed manner. Slovenia is not in favour of building walls, although the refugee crisis is a big challenge for Slovenia as well as other countries, Cerar said. He added Slovenia was ready for this challenge, while joint positions on the crisis will need to be taken within the EU in the coming weeks.

After the session, Cerar also met with representatives of NGOs and humanitarian organisations, who established, according to the PM, that their ideas are going in the same direction and that they wished to participate. They were therefore also invited to be part of the coordination group. Veronika Bajt of the Peace Institute said she was happy with the meeting, but added that the NGOs would nonetheless preserve a critical attitude and monitor the operations of the state. Slovenian Red Cross president Nataša Pirc Musar also spoke to the press, saying the charity started collected material and financial aid for the refugees today and was ready for them. More than 25 NGOs and humanitarian organisations got together today to agree to act in a coordinated way and Bajt said they would be happy to participate in the coordination group. The head of the group at the political level will be Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, while it will also feature the ministers for interior affairs, for labour, for health and for defence.

Along with NGOs, the government also plans to include local communities.

Interior Minister Györkös Žnidar meanwhile explained that the capacities and logistics currently planned are defined in the contingency plan adopted in July. While the preliminary plan envisages up to 500 refugees, it is not yet possible to say how many refugees Slovenia will face and the final phase of the plan remains to be set down, the minister said. Perhaps additional capacities will need to be secured, she added, announcing potential additional locations would be determined within a week. Individuals who will ask for international protection will be put at the asylum seekers home and provided with all the procedures secured by legislation. Those who will not apply will be subjected to the provisions of the foreigners act and returned to their country of origin or transit, the minister said.


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