EU Commission allows for targeted border check-ups in case of congestion


After Cerar discussed the issue with European Council President Donald yesterday, the trilateral meeting also featured European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Croatian PM Andrej Plenković.

According to Cerar, Juncker highlighted at the meeting that Slovenia was implementing the rules on the new systematic border check-ups professionally and could not be criticised in the respect.

The Commission said today it would allow for targeted check-ups at border crossings to be introduced when waiting times will be longer than 15 minutes, the prime minister explained.

Cerar sees this as progress. Slovenia can start implementing these new rules as early as in the coming days, Cerar said.

Commenting on the different interpretations of Slovenia's implementation of the EU decree, Cerar reiterated that the country had been implementing rules as agreed and would continue to do so but not at the expense of Croatia. "Slovenia has no intention whatsoever to harm anyone," he pointed out.

The statement comes after Croatian criticism that long queues on the border were partly Slovenia's fault. Cerar rejected this as "fully ungrounded" today. Even with the current rules, Slovenia has been striving to speed up passenger checks to the extent permitted by the EU regulation, he said.

"But I wanted additional explanation from the Commission, which can help us interpret the regulation," he said, adding that the Commission had presented the detailed guidelines today.

Cerar said today's meeting with Juncker and Plenković had been constructive and that all parties had the same goals: to obey rules and provide for security without causing traffic congestion.

Cerar also commented on Plenković's call for an agreement on switching from systematic to targeted check-ups such as Croatia made with Hungary.

The Slovenian prime minister said he had explained it to the Commission that the situation on the Slovenian-Croatian border was different than that on the Croatian-Hungarian border.

At least five times more people come to Slovenia through Croatia than they do from Croatia to Hungary, he noted. Many of the passengers come from Middle East countries, Syria, Africa and Turkey, so a different approach is required, he said.

Cerar warned that people's expectations of the new rules should not be too high. There has always been congestion at border crossings, he said.

Only targeted checks on all border crossings during the entire summer season will not be possible. "Targeted control is justified, when it is needed and feasible."

The new rules agreed today do not breach the EU regulation on systematic border control and it is important that Slovenia remains a member of the Schengen zone, Cerar stressed.

The prime minister also called for abolishing temporary border checks on the Austrian-Slovenian border, which is not the external border of the Schengen zone. There is objective evidence that the controls on the Slovenian-Austrian border are not justified, Cerar said.

But according to unofficial information, the Commission nevertheless plans to propose another three-month extension of the regime on Wednesday.