Slovenia toughens law to prevent another influx of migrants

Refugees boarding a train on the Greece/Macedonia border. [Freedom House/Flickr]

Slovenia’s government approved amendments to its law on foreigners on Thursday (5 January) to enable police to seal the country’s borders to illegal migrants for a limited period if needed.

The changes, expected to be ratified by parliament, are meant to prevent a repeat of a six-month-long flood of migrants across Slovenia that ended in March 2016, when several countries to its south closed the main Balkan migration route.

Around 500,000 illegal migrants crossed Slovenia, the smallest country along the migration corridor, on their way to desired destinations in wealthier west European countries.

Austria and Balkan states prepare for collapse of EU-Turkey deal

Austria said on Monday (7 November) it will meet with its Balkan neighbours to discuss what action they might take if a deal with Turkey aimed at restricting the flow of illegal migrants into the European Union collapses.

Interior Minister Vesna Gyorkos Znidar said Slovenia would not be able to endure another migrant flow of that kind, especially as its northern neighbour Austria and other west European states were closing their doors to migrants.

“The new legislation will be used only if migration would be endangering the public order and internal security of Slovenia,” Znidar told a news conference.

She said the government also decided to establish a special Office for Migration to coordinate policy on migrants.

Amnesty International, in a statement, urged parliament to reject the legal changes as they “would deny refugees and asylum seekers the protections to which they are entitled under international and EU law”.

Znidar said the number of asylum requests in Slovenia had risen five fold in the past year. In the first 11 months of 2016 Slovenia received 1,170 requests, of which 148 were approved, while about 230 requests were still being processed.

Slovenia says ready to comply with EU migrant quota scheme

Slovenia, which this week closed its borders to migrants, will begin accepting refugees shared out among the European Union in April, under its troubled quota scheme, the government said Thursday (10 March).

Balkan Route ‘closed’ after cascade of border shutdowns

Slovenia and Serbia said on Tuesday (8 March) they would place new restrictions on the entry of migrants, putting extra obstacles in the way of those trying to reach the European Union via the Balkans.

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