STA, 13 September 2019 - Slovenian Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar proposed that Slovenia and Austria form joint police patrols to police the Slovenian-Austrian border, as he hosted his counterpart Wolfgang Peschorn for a visit in Ljubljana on Friday.
Peschorn, saying it was a good proposal, announced the Austrian government would examine it to see if it could fully contain the migration pressure.
Slovenia has recently introduced similar police patrols with Italy.
Poklukar reiterated Slovenia's stance that Austria's border checks with Slovenia had a negative impact on local population on both sides of the border, causing economic damage and long lines of vehicles on the shared border.
He said this was the reason why he had suggested Austria eliminated border checks and set up mixed police patrols with Slovenia.
The Austrian minister said the government planned to take a new decision on the border checks in mid-October.
Austria introduced checks on the border with Slovenia, which is an internal EU border, at the peak of the 2015 refugee crisis, and has been extending them ever since.
Poklukar also announced Slovenia would soon send its police attache to the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Both ministers said they supported effective control of the EU's external borders and a comprehensive solution to the migration issue at the EU level.
The Salzburg Forum, meeting in Vienna in November, will thus discuss initiatives for a more efficient asylum and migration policy.
A message needs to be sent out that illegal migrations and human smuggling do not pay off, the Austrian minister stressed, adding that this applied to the Balkan route as well as other routes in the Mediterranean.
Poklukar acknowledged that illegal migrations have been increasing for four years, but he said there was "no cause for concern". "Slovenia is a safe country and Slovenian police are managing the situation."
As Poklukar noted, Slovenian police had apprehended roughly 9,800 illegal migrants so far this year, with the majority returned to Croatia; Austria, meanwhile returned only 62 persons to Slovenia.
"This data shows that Slovenia conducts effective control of its southern border."
Both officials also commented on the threat by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he will open Turkey's borders and let Syrian refugees into Europe.
Peschorn said "announcements are commonplace in polit
On the sidelines of the visit, he decorated two Slovenian police officers wiics, but it is always important what happens," but stressed that the situation on the Turkish-Greek border would inform Austria's decision on whether to extent police checks.
Poklukar said that the 2016 deal the EU struck with Turkey in 2016 helped significantly reduce migrations from Syria and the Middle East. Slovenia's position is that the deal is very important.