Migrants waiting in line at the Slovenian-Austrian border in Spielfeld, Austria | Photo: Archive EPA/Erwin Scheriau
Migrants waiting in line at the Slovenian-Austrian border in Spielfeld, Austria | Photo: Archive EPA/Erwin Scheriau

Slovenia has reported 11,291 irregular border crossings since the start of this year, according to the interior minister.

Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar told Parliament on Wednesday that there had been 11,291 irregular border crossings in Slovenia since the start of 2019.

He added that the number of irregular crossings was expected to rise before the beginning of winter but would not reach the peaks reported over the 2015-2016 period.

Poklukar said police were doing an excellent job protecting and monitoring Slovenia's border with Croatia. His remarks were in response to a question in Parliament from a member of the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), which leads the opposition.

Most irregular migrants handed back to Croatia

Poklukar also said that border areas where the highest number of attempted irregular crossings were reported this year included Novo Mesto, Ljubljana, Koper and, more recently, the district of Maribor.

Most of those attempting to enter Slovenia were citizens of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco. The majority of migrants were handed back to Croatian authorities in accordance with readmission agreements.

Minister reports 324 suspected traffickers arrested

Poklukar said that 324 suspected migrant traffickers had been arrested so far this year, including 290 foreigners and 40 Slovenian citizens. The minister also spoke about activating article 37 of a law on the protection of national territory. This would grant more power to members of the military deployed at the border.

The interior minister said he was analyzing the situation and would propose the activating article 37 as needed. He then briefed parliamentarians on the progress in the construction of barriers at the border with Croatia. A video surveillance system is also being installed there.

100 border guards are being recruited to deal with police staffing shortages, Poklukar said.
 

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