Schengen Zone: Most Slovenian Parties Oppose Internal Border Checks, Some Call for Stronger Controls at Croatian Border (Feature)

By , 10 May 2019, 11:50 AM Politics
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STA, 9 May 2019 - With a number of countries within the Schengen zone continuing to carry out internal border checks, including neighbouring Austria, a majority of the parties standing in the 26 May European election claim such checks are unwarranted. Some perceive them as an expression of a lack of trust in Slovenian politics.

The coalition parties generally share the opinion that internal border checks are not warranted, as passing borders without checks is one of the most tangible advantages of EU membership.

The ruling Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) believes that the rules on temporary border checks within the Schengen zone should be redefined to prevent abuse of the system.

The Social Democrats (SD) think that checks on internal borders are unwarranted, except in extraordinary situations. Any obstacles to the free flow of people, services, goods and capital are unacceptable, the party says.

The Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) finds Austria's border checks unacceptable. "We don't want a future in which counties make unilateral decisions about such fundamental values and treaties, such as the Schengen Agreement."

The Modern Centre Party (SMC) sees Austria's decision as a violation of the fundamental principles of the EU, arguing that Slovenia is protecting the Schengen border responsibly. It sees the political situation in Austria as the main reason for border checks.

Also stressing that the checks on the Slovenian-Austrian border are unwarranted is the Alenka Bratušek Party (SAB), which says it is a mere "implementation of cheap nationalist politics".

The opposition Democrats (SDS) and the non-parliamentary People's Party (SLS), who are running on a joint ticket, believe that internal border checks are a result of the increasing threat of terrorism and illegal mass migrations.

Internal border checks run counter to the idea of free movement of people, but only effective protection of the external border would make internal checks unnecessary, the parties says.

While noting that internal border checks undermine one of the fundamental freedoms in the EU, the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) believes that these are an obvious sign of distrust among EU member states, a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

The Left, an opposition partner to the minority ruling coalition, warns that checks on internal borders run against the concept of open borders as one of the fundamental EU values. The measure is unlawful and undermines the principles on which the EU is based.

The opposition National Party (SNS), meanwhile, believes that Slovenia should seal its Schengen border with Croatia and let only people with valid documents in the country. Controls on the border should be constant and strict.

Similarly, the Homeland League (DOM) thinks that Austria's measure is self-explanatory, as Slovenia has failed to protect its border since 2015. "If border protection is not effective, the Schengen border will be moved from the river Kolpa to the Karavanke mountain range."

On the other hand, the Let's Connect list believes that such checks are no longer warranted from either the security or customs aspects. It is propaganda aimed at creating the false feeling of an outside threat, it says.

Good State believes that Austria is using the situation for political purposes. Internal checks are unwarranted and the Slovenian government should take counter-measures and check people coming to Slovenia from Austria.

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