The Slovenia Times

Slovenia seeking "controlled" refugee inflow, Cerar says


This would constitute an attempt by Slovenia to "direct the flow with technical obstacles". "We have to carry out [border] control, we are the guardians of the Schengen border," he said.

Cerar suggested Slovenia's deliberation was motivated by the prospect of Austria and Germany starting to "narrow the reception" of refugees, in which case Slovenia could soon face an "unmanageable number of migrants".

There are as yet no indications Germany or Austria might start closing their borders, but the large numbers of migrants on the Slovenian-Austrian and Austrian-German borders show the transfer of refugees "is no longer simply free".

Stricter control of the EU's external borders was one of the commitments made at the recent EU-Balkans summit on migrations, but Cerar noted that it was still not being sufficiently implemented.

"The key step to the resolution of this to set up such control on the Turkish-Greek border" and to engage in a "constructive dialogue with Turkey."

That way the demand for migration would be reduced and refugees could "stay closer to their countries of origin" and eventually return to their homelands, he said.

Another argument in favour of stricter border control is that Slovenia does not have sufficient winter capacity to take care of huge numbers of refugees, even if they are merely transiting the country, he noted.

Cerar was also asked to comment on a statement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who suggested there was a risk of armed conflict in the Balkans due to the ongoing refugee crisis.

"I do not know what exactly she meant...I assume she is worried by the escalation of the refugee crisis," he said.

But he pointed out that "individual conflict situations between these countries" might occur if the refugee crisis is not dealt with appropriately, which is why it is important to address this issue "together, in agreement".

Slovenia has faced some criticism in foreign media lately about its handling of refugees.

Cerar said the government was examining "every critical report" and responding if necessary, but he rejected generalised estimates to the effect that Slovenia is not trying hard enough.

There are problems and individuals are dissatisfied, but Slovenia is receiving the same number of migrants as countries many times its size.

"The energy that Slovenia is investing in the aid effort is therefore all the more respectable and a good model of how to honour European values, human rights, solidarity and human dignity," he said.


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