STA, 5 September 2019 - Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar is known for saying the Slovenian police are fully in control of migration. "If this was not the case, we would have more illegal migrants in the country, at railway stations, cities and abandoned buildings," he told the STA. He said the country was cooperating well with Croatia and Italy.
"Slovenia being a safe country is a fact confirmed by international comparisons and many countries envy us on this," Poklukar said in an interview with the STA.
He believes that the statistics on the foreigners apprehended prove that police are on top of things.
Slovenia has apprehended more than 9,600 people this year and some 460 persons have been returned to Slovenia from Austria, Italy and Hungary. Poklukar believes this shows that only few people avoid being caught.
He pointed to the beefed up security measures such as additional fences on the border and high resolution systems of video- and thermal cameras.
According to the minister, police are also successfully preventing migrant smuggling by individuals and criminal rings mostly from the Balkans and Slovenia.
Investigators have formed special task forces to deal with this and police are cooperating well with Frontex, Europol and Interpol.
Poklukar also praised cooperation with other countries. Cooperation with Croatia has improved significantly since the 2015 and 2016 mass migrations, he said.
Slovenian police officers are cooperating in mixed patrols with Croatian and Italian counterparts. The deal on the mixed patrols with Italy envisages such cooperation until the end of September.
"We are evaluating the situation on a daily basis and I have found them to be successfully preventing illegal human trafficking," Poklukar said about the patrols.
He is confident that the success of Slovenian police will be recognised by Italy. He reiterated Slovenia opposed a fence on the Slovenian-Italian border for historical reasons and because it would disturb the lives of locals.
The country is also bothered by the fact that Austria continues to conduct controls on its border with Slovenia, an issue Poklukar plans to discuss with his Austrian counterpart in Ljubljana next Monday.
According to the minister, Slovenian police are also monitoring the migration flow in Balkan countries, in particular in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and are helping protect the borders in Serbia and North Macedonia.
Four new police attaches are to be deployed to Skopje, Rome, Zagreb and Vienna shortly.
Asked whether the mass influx of migrants such as the one Europe witnessed a few years ago could happen again, Poklukar said that there was some fear that the migration flow would enhance every autumn due to upcoming winter but not in the scope as in 2015 and 2016.
He said Slovenia was ready for a potential influx and expected Croatia to protect the EU's external border as efficiently as Slovenia is protecting the Schengen border.