Slovenia Protests Austrian Border Protection Exercise Planned for Statehood Day, June 25

By , 11 Jun 2018, 16:34 PM News
The border crossing The border crossing Wikimedia - Ljuba brank CC by 3.0

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STA, 11 June 2018 - The Slovenian police have expressed disagreement with a major anti-migration military and police exercise planned by Austria on the Slovenian border on 25 June, Slovenian Statehood Day. Interior Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar spoke of "Austria's internal political issues that should not be spilling over to Slovenia". 

"We've been notified about the planned exercise. We expressed disagreement with the date, the location as well as the concept of the exercise itself. The number of migrants entering Austria via Slovenia is not such as to demand such exercises," the Slovenian police tweeted.

Slovenian police representatives told the newspaper Delo that no more than 13 migrants had been returned from Austria to Slovenia this year.

Austria's security forces are planning to carry out the border protection exercise at the border crossing Spielfeld / Šentilj near the Slovenian city of Maribor (NE).

Several hundred members of the Austrian armed forces and police officers are meant to demonstrate how to stop a large group of refugees.

Also on display will be Austria's 600-member border squad Puma, which is expected to be fully ready in September.

The Spielfeld border crossing already features extensive border protection infrastructure, including border fencing.

Austrian officials have rejected accusations that they are exaggerating with warnings about new migration waves.

Austrian Federal Criminal Office director Franz Lang told Austrian media that 30 attempts of illegal border crossing were recorded each day. He claims the number of arrivals is low mostly because of the good work Croatia is doing on the EU's external border.

Meanwhile, Slovenian Interior Minister Györkös Žnidar reiterated today the Slovenian police was in control of the migration developments and was closely watching the situation on the migration routes.

"The good job the Slovenian police is doing when protecting the Schengen border is proof that we present no threat to Austria or any other countries in terms of security in the Schengen area," she said on the sidelines of an event in Tacen.

The minister also commented on potential new border fencing, saying that "there are certain proposals, and I hope the decisions will also be taken soon".

"There has been a rise in illegal migration where there are no technical obstacles, mostly due to opposition by locals. Temporary technical obstacles are a part of effective protection of the external Schengen border also due to the police's staffing situation," the minister explained.

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