The Slovenia Times

Migration flow in Slovenia slowing somewhat


Interior Ministry State Secretary Boštjan Šefic said on Friday that the situation was "much calmer" than in the previous days, allowing rail traffic with Croatia to be restored.

The number of refugees crossing into Slovenia has been gradually decreasing in the past few days. At the same time the number of people starting down the Balkan route has also been dropping. Only 4,000 refugees entered Greece today, Šefic noted.

Since the flow of refugees was rerouted to Slovenia by Hungary's decision to seal off its border on 17 October, almost 105,000 refugees entered Slovenia, with 84,000 already leaving the country, the state secretary said.

According to him, 49 people have sought international protection, of whom 23 were from Iraq, seven from Iran, six from Kosovo, four from Afghanistan, two from Albania, two from Nigeria and one from Cameron, Syria, Serbia and Turkey.

Several of these people have nevertheless already left the asylum centre and probably Slovenia as well, Šefic said.

All efforts are now being invested in normalising the situation in Brežice, which has been hit the hardest by the refugee influx.

Šefic said the new system of registering refugee arrivals from Croatia on trains was working well.

He added that a temporary platform would be set up in Šentilj, on the only official exit point to Austria, this weekend. It will allow refugees to walk just 50 metres to the accommodation centre after leaving their train.

This will be good for the refugees, police and locals, he said.

Šefic also commented on Austria's plans for "regulation fences" at the Šentilj border crossing after larger groups of refugees managed to get past their mobile security forces in recent days.

The fences are to direct migrant to entry points, where they can be registered. Additional fences on both sides of the border crossing should prevent refugees from going around the regulation fences.

Šefic said this was not unusual. "Activities to this effect had been announced, we know about it and have no problems with it. On the contrary, we expect things to run even more smoothly as a result."

He pointed out Austria was not erecting fences at the green border.

Although saying the situation is somewhat calmer now, Šefic admitted that it could quickly change. Germany indeed committed at Sunday's EU-Balkans summit to not completely shutting its borders, but it can radically limit acceptance of refugees, he said.

"But Slovenia can quickly and effectively react to an altered situation."

Šefic also rejected reports that Germany was returning migrants back to their countries. He said some people from Albania, Macedonia and some other Balkan countries had returned to their countries willingly after Germany announced it would be flying out those who do not meet criteria for asylum.

Asked about reports saying that Slovenia could build a fence along its entire border with Croatia within two weeks, he said this could simply not be done along the 670 kilometres.

Such a fence would need to be protected by a large number of security personnel, while there is also the question of whether this would be effective and what it would mean for the Slovenians living along the border, especially those whose part of a house or garden would be on the other side of the fence.

Meanwhile, international rail traffic between Slovenia and Croatia, which has been suspended due to the refugee crisis, was scheduled to be restored at 4:30 PM today, the railways operator Slovenske železnice announced.

The rail link between Brežice and Zagreb had been inactive since 16 October. The countries were connected via bus lines in this time.

The Rigonce pri Dobovi border crossing with Croatia, which was at the epicentre of the refugee arrivals only last week, was reopened already on Wednesday after Croatia and Slovenia started cooperating on moving the refugees across the border by train at Dobova.


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