Janša and Morawiecki note similar views on border protection

Ljubljana – Hosting his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Wednesday, Prime Minister Janez Janša pledged Slovenia’s support for Poland in light of the migrant crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. He said the EU should fund all measures to protect the bloc’s external borders. Morawiecki said Slovenia and Poland shared views on security.

The pair discussed the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border, the build-up of Russian military forces on the Ukrainian border, Covid-19, the Western Balkans’ aspirations to join the EU, and cooperation between Poland and Slovenia.

“Morawiecki has given me a detailed presentation of the situation on the Polish-Belarusian border,” Janša told a press conference after the meeting, highlighting that the EU should finance all the measures designed to protect its external borders, including putting up fences.

Janša thinks that physical barriers at the borders have proved to be effective in preventing illegal migration and violence, while replacing the use of more invasive means on top of that.

He noted that Slovenia had been striving to drum up major support for Poland in the migration crisis as the country that is currently at the helm of the Council of the EU.

Slovenia also offered direct aid today in the form of sending in Slovenian police officers to help protect the border, he said, adding that Poland had helped out Slovenia in the same way when the latter needed to protect its borders against migration waves.

“Congratulations for determination and bravery and for activities, including diplomatic ones, that have, at least temporarily for now, stopped a wave of illegal migration that put pressure on the Polish border,” Janša said.

Moving on to the situation on the Polish border with Ukraine, he said: “We share concerns about a build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s borders.” The concentration of these forces is far from “normal military exercises”, he added.

The Slovenian prime minister called on those responsible in the EU and NATO “to be mindful of this” so that there will be no more surprising developments like “the Russian occupation of Crimea”. He also urged Russia to act responsibly.

Morawiecki said that Slovenia and Poland shared views on security, highlighting the role of diplomacy and unity in tackling the migrant crisis, which is, he said, a threat to the EU and NATO.

He stressed the importance of border protection for maintaining the country’s sovereignty. “If a country wants to be sovereign, it must be up to it to decide on who is allowed to enter its territory.”

He also highlighted that conflict was never a good solution, saying that he was committed, above all, to finding solutions to avoid rising tensions. The mitigation actions so far, including flights to transport migrants, have shown results and somewhat de-escalated the situation, he said.

The pair also discussed the gas supply crisis, which is having a major impact on price hikes in the EU across the board. Morawiecki said that the crisis was a reflection of Russia’s policies against Central European countries.

They agreed that Western Balkans countries should get a clear signal on their EU membership prospects so that they could join the bloc within a foreseeable, short period of time. They expressed their further support for the region’s EU accession, with Morawiecki saying this would enhance the bloc’s security.

Moreover, Janša and Morawiecki talked about the Covid-19 situation and measures to contain the pandemic and increase the vaccination rate.

Together with some other countries Slovenia has launched an initiative for a joint public procurement for Covid-19 medicines in light of a relatively successful joint mechanism for Covid-19 vaccine procurement, Janša said. Health Minister Janez Poklukar is to inform his EU colleagues of this today, he added.

Economic cooperation between Poland and Slovenia was also on the agenda of the talks with Morawiecki highlighting the role of the Three Seas Initiative as an initiative opening up new opportunities for cooperation in the fields of the economy, infrastructure, energy, trade and investment.