A sign along the border between Italy and Slovenia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/MAURO ZOCCHI
A sign along the border between Italy and Slovenia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/MAURO ZOCCHI

Italian interior minister Luciana Lamorgese and her Slovenian counterpart Aleš Hojs on Friday decided to resume joint police patrols within the next month along the Slovenian-Italian border to curb migration flows to Western Europe along the Balkan route.

Joint police patrols will resume along the Italian-Slovenian border within the next month to curb migration flows to Western Europe along the Balkan route. The decision was made on June 4 during a meeting near Ljubljana between Italian interior minister Luciana Lamorgese and her Slovenian counterpart Aleš Hojs. The request was made by Lamorgese and accepted by Hojs.

Italy has said that it is willing to use drones and night-vision goggles in its activities. The patrols had been halted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Border patrol flight

During the meeting Friday in Brdo pri Kranju not far from Ljubljana, the two interior ministers also discussed the priorities of the upcoming Slovenian presidency of the EU and different positions on the European Migration and Asylum Pact.

The ministers took a helicopter ride over the border between Italy and Slovenia, but the exact location of the joint border patrol will be agreed directly between the two police forces.

Minister Lamorgese said that she expects most of the patrols to move between Udine and Trieste, where the largest number of undocumented migrants tends to be intercepted.

Hojs defends Frontex

In responding to journalists' questions, the Slovenian minister also referred to alleged irregularities in the functioning of the European border and coastal guard agency Frontex, which stands accused of illegally repatriating 10,000 migrants on the Greek-Turkish border.

The new Migration and Asylum Pact will give Frontex, which is led by a Slovenian representative, more resources and staff but it is not to be condemned, Hojs said.

On the issue of cross-border workers, Lamorgese said in response to a question that, in line with epidemiological conditions, it will be possible to facilitate the flow of people who live along the border.

The latest ordinances issued in recent days allow those residing within 60 km on both sides of the border to cross without any sort of certificate.All EU interior ministers will be meeting July 15 in Slovenia as part of the Slovenian presidency term of the EU.

 

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