Slovenia considers building fence on Croatian border

Slovenia considers building fence on its border with Croatia to help deal with refugee crisis if EU fails to provide support, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar says

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar

Slovenia said it would consider building a fence on its border with Croatia to stem the flow of refugees if European leaders fail to agree to find a solution to the refugee crisis, as thousands more refugees arrived from Croatia on Friday.

Refugees began to stream into Slovenia last Saturday following the closure of the Hungarian border with Croatia. Since last Saturday, 47,000 refugees, including about 10,000 in the past 24 hours, entered the country, the Slovenian Interior Ministry said.

Slovenian officials said the country was at full capacity and did not have enough resources to deal with such large numbers of people. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar accused Croatia of transporting the large numbers of people too quickly to Slovenia.

When asked about the possibility of building a fence, Cerar said this could happen "if the EU fails to provide enough support to the country during a summit on Sunday."

"At first we are seeking a European solution. If we lose hope on the European level, if we do not get enough [support] on Sunday then all options are possible as that would mean that we are on our own," Cerar said.

However, Cerar stated that building a fence would be a last resort.

"The border with Croatia is long [670 kilometers], and raising a fence would be quite complicated - and even if this is done the police and the army would have to guard it constantly to prevent illegal crossings," he said.

Police officers escort refugees as they make their way on foot after crossing the Croatian-Slovenian border, in Rigonce, Slovenia on October 22, 2015 (Reuters)

Several European leaders will hold a meeting in Brussels on Sunday to discuss the latest developments in the refugee crisis, the biggest to hit Europe since World War II.

Slovenia hopes to get 140 million euros following the meeting as well as logistics help and manpower to control the influx of refugees. Moreover, the country has been calling for more effective controls on the Greek-Turkish border.

EU officials said Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland have offered to deploy police reinforcements.

After Hungary closed its border with Croatia on Oct. 17 refugees were redirected towards Slovenia. Since then, 38,600 have entered the country. Slovenia has a population of two million.

Hungary has closed its border with both Serbia and Croatia with fences.

On Friday, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz “warned the surge into Europe had become too big,” and that EU members “had a responsibility to protect their borders.”

Referring to the border fences in Hungary and other EU countries, Kurz said, "The question is whether you want them or not."

Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl Leitner said on Thursday that it was “time for the EU to build fortress in Europe.”

TRTWorld and agencies