STA, 8 September 2020 - Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese has announced that Italy will not close small border crossings on the Italian-Slovenian border due to increased migration, but will bolster the presence of the military and police in the border area. She has also announced that mixed border patrols will be reintroduced.
Joint Slovenian-Italian border police patrols were discontinued when the Covid-19 situation started to escalate.
But Lamorgese said in Trieste on Tuesday that the joint activities would be renewed "already this evening", lauding cooperation with the Slovenian police, reported Primorski Dnevnik, the Trieste-based newspaper of the Slovenian minority in Italy.
The Friuli-Venezia Giulia region will see the arrival of additional soldiers "to monitor the region more efficiently", she said during her visit to Trieste, where she mostly discussed illegal migrations with regional authorities, according to the Italian press agency Ansa.
Additional soldiers will be primarily deployed to small border crossings as well as to roads and expressways to upset the apple cart for migrant smugglers.
Lamorgese said that the authorities needed to be one step ahead of the smugglers, who are inventive in coming up with new routes.
More than 3,000 illegal migrants have taken the Western Balkan route to arrive in Italy this year, which compares to 2,100 migrants crossing the Slovenian-Italian border illegally in the same period last year. Some 850 were handed over to the Slovenian authorities, said Lamorgese.
Friuli-Venezia Giulia President Massimiliano Fedriga is meanwhile disappointed that small border crossings remain open, reported Ansa. But he said the minister had told him she would see no alternative to closing them if sending additional manpower did not prove efficient.
Lamorgese hopes the move will bring positive results though. A total of 21 small border crossings will see reinforced border control already tonight.