Slovenia has announced that it will be taking down its border fence on the Croatian border by the end of the year. The Interior Ministry confirmed the plan to the news agency STA.
Slovenia's new government has vowed to remove the controversial fence that separates it from neighbouring Croatia. Construction on the fence started in late 2015 during the height of the what is often referred to as the 'European refugee crisis,' when hundreds of thousands of people fled to EU countries from war-torn Syria.
The fence was designed to curb irregular migration into Slovenia through the Balkans. It was extended several times since 2015, and is currently about 200 kilometers long.
Many people have been insured trying to scale the structure, suffering considerable cuts on the barbed wire that was placed on top of the fence.
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New government wants to change direction
Slovenia shares a 670 kilometer-long border with Croatia, meaning that roughly a third of their shared border has been fortified with a fence.
Both countries are members of the European Union, but only Slovenia is also part of the Schengen Area -- a group of European countries that have abolished border controls at their shared borders. In part because of this, Slovenia has seen a lot of people trying to cross its borders to get to other Schengen countries, like Germany, Austria or Italy.
Both Croatia and Slovenia have repeatedly come under fire for their treatment of migrants and refugees; Croatia in particular has faced repeated accusations of conducting illegal pushbacks into neighboring Bosnia.
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The Slovanian new government, which was sworn in last week, wants to change the country's border policies. The left-liberal government under Prime Minister Robert Golob committed itself to demolishing the border fence in its coalition agreement, and they have announced plans to instead monitor the border with drones and cameras.
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