STA, 21 January 2020 - An event on integration of persons who have been granted international protection, hosted by the Peace Institute (Mirovni inštitut) in Ljubljana on Tuesday, heard that debate on integration in Slovenia is of secondary importance, as things get stuck already at the question of whether an asylum seeker should be accepted in the country at all.
This assessment was made by Iztok Šori, the institute's director, who said that the Slovenian police were rejecting migrants on the border with Croatia, making it impossible for them to apply for international protection.
Šori noted that the Interior Ministry had recently rejected applications from several citizens of Eritrea, the country with probably the worst dictatorship in Africa. "Getting international protection in Slovenia is actually a lottery with very unclear rules, which may change overnight."
Eritrea has been declared a safe country all of a sudden, and similarly Afghanistan, where international protection applicants are being deported, is also deemed a safe country," he said, noting that Slovenia had granted only 85 applications last year.
Maja Ladić of the institute added that there was a discrepancy between theory and practice when it came to integration, while "the migration policy is getting stricter, with ever more restrictive measures being taken".
According to her, the number of asylum seekers in Slovenia is growing, while the number of granted applications is decreasing.
Ladić said that the long-awaited migration strategy, which had been adopted last year without much input from the civil society, was not expected to bring major changes when it came to integration.
"As we've heard today, Slovenia is being mentioned as a case of good practice in the region, but I think that it would be better to look up to countries which are better in a certain field than us."
While Olivera Vukotic of the UNHCR's Central European office sees Slovenia as a case of good practice in integration of refugees in Central Europe, Ladić said that North and West European countries were better examples.