STA, 26 April 2020 - Slovenia had a population of 2,095,861 on 1 January 2020, up 14,953, or 0.7%, from a year earlier. The number of Slovenian citizens dropped in 2019 as the multi-year downward trend continued, with the number of immigrants increasing again.
The number of Slovenian citizens in 2019 dropped by 3,205, or 0.2%, to 1,939,510, which is a slightly bigger drop than in 2018, Statistics Office figures show.
The number of foreign citizens residing in Slovenia meanwhile increased by 18,158, or 13.1%, a rise roughly on a par with 2018.
On the first day of this year, a total of 156,351 foreigners made up 7.5% of Slovenia's population, a rise from 6.6% a year earlier.
The number of men (1,051,066) exceeded the number of women (1,044,795) on that day.
The share of women among Slovenian citizens, which keeps decreasing, stood at 51%.
Only a third of all foreign citizens were meanwhile women.
The low share of women immigrants is attributed to the fact that the majority of foreigners coming to Slovenia in recent years are workers working in industries such as construction.
STA, 23 April 2020 - Mayors of 23 border municipalities have called on the National Assembly to back the activation of an emergency clause that grants soldiers limited police powers to patrol the border, citing a likely mass spread of Covid-19 among migrants as the main reason.
While the government has been unable to secure the two-thirds majority in parliament to activate Article 37.a of the defence act, the mayors argue the army "is the only institution left with a sufficient number of equipped and trained staff to protect the southern border".
The mayors, whose petition is dated 20 April but was published by Defence Minister Matej Tonin on Wednesday, are surprised by the reservations concerning an expanded use of the army on the border in a time when Slovenia is trying to contain the coronavirus epidemic.
They fear a larger number of infected persons could enter Slovenia, since the virus is already present among migrants and a major spread among them will be impossible to prevent given their accommodation situation in Europe and Turkey.
The mayors are aware of proposals to activate backup police and retired officers and "do not oppose them, but it has been shown in the past that such measures do not enable the activation of several thousand additional people",
While soldiers are already assisting the police on the border, the mayors believe that not being able to restrict the movement of persons and take part in crowd control along the border - the powers granted by Article 37.a - renders the soldiers meaningless.
The mayors moreover argue that the likelihood of a certain number of police officers falling ill also needed to be taken into account in a situation where there are not enough officers on the border to protect it effectively as it is.
It was Emil Rojc, the mayor Ilirska Bistrica which borders on Croatia, that handed the petition to Tonin. According to the minister, the mayors "claim the people are not afraid of the Slovenian army and want greater security".
The coalition has failed to the get the opposition on board for the temporary activation of the additional army powers. The parties mostly claim there has been no significant uptick in migrant numbers that would warrant this, while some have unsuccessfully proposed restrictions to the extra powers.
The government has however remained determined to push ahead with the plan, also getting the backing of President Borut Pahor, the commander-in-chief of the Slovenian Armed Forces, who visited the southern border area along the Kolpa river in the company of the interior and defence minister last Wednesday.
Interior Minister Aleš Hojs told the press last Thursday that the government plans to nevertheless deploy soldiers if needed, using a different legislative provision that allows a more limited form of deployment.
Article 37.a was adopted at the peak of the migration crisis, in October 2015, and invoked in February 2016 to help police patrol the border. Over 442,000 migrants had entered the country between 16 October 2015 and 1 February 2016.
Police recorded 1,835 illegal crossings of the border in the first three months of 2020, which is 6.5% more than in the same period last year.
However, according to Monday's report by TV Slovenija, the number of illegal crossing recorded halved after the coronavirus epidemic was declared in Slovenia. The total figures for 1 January to 20 April were 2,396 in 2019 and 2,038 in 2020.
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.
STA, 15 December 2019 - There were 250,000 immigrants in Slovenia at the start of 2018, or 12.1% of the country's population, national statisticians said before International Migrants Day, which is observed on 18 December.
The figure puts Slovenia 16th on the list of EU countries by share of immigrants; Luxembourg leads with 46.5% and Poland is at the bottom with 1.8%.
Statistics Office data also shows that Slovenia is quite generous with granting immigrants citizenship.
Demographic indicators – population born abroad by the period of immigration, Slovenia, 1 January 2018
Migration indicators – population born abroad by the period of immigration, Slovenia, 1 January 2018
Alongside Croatia, Sweden and the Netherlands, it is one of the four EU countries with the largest share of immigrants having its citizenship.
The share stands at 55%, while it is as high as 94% among those who migrated to Slovenia when the country was still part of former Yugoslavia, before June 1991.
This is because migrations between Yugoslav republics were considered internal migrations, so it was easier to gain citizenship after Slovenia's independence.
Consequently, around 170,000 people were granted Slovenian citizenship in the first eight months after independence.
However, the figure for the past decade is much lower, at 15,000; of these new Slovenian citizens, 70% still originate from the area of former Yugoslavia.
Among the immigrants who came to Slovenia in the past decade, between 2008 and 2017, 6% already had Slovenian citizenship, with over 3% receiving it after immigrating.
These immigrants have come to Slovenia from as many as 163 countries.
Socioeconomic characteristics – population born abroad by the period of immigration, Slovenia, 1 January 2018
Living conditions – population born abroad by the period of immigration, Slovenia, 1 January 2018
Although Bosnia and Herzegovina is the source country of 43% of these immigrants, immigration from Kosovo has seen the steepest rise, doubling compared to pre-2007.
An average immigrant who moved to Slovenia between 2008 and 2017 is a man from Bosnia aged 30 to 39 with a permanent residence permit.
He lives on his own (without family) in one of Slovenia's eleven urban municipalities, has a job and vocational education.
Their education is slightly lower than that of those who immigrated here before 2007, and one in two works in the manufacturing or construction industry.
More details can be found at SURS
STA, 12 December - The office of President Borut Pahor has asked the relevant ministry to closely examine the case of an Afganistani who is facing deportation from Slovenia, as it believes it stands out from usual cases. This comes as NGOs have again called on the authorities not to deport Noor, who has found a home and has family in the town of Novo Mesto.
The president's office told the STA on Thursday that while it did not have direct jurisdiction in the international protection procedures, the Ministry of the Interior should examine the case in detail.
The call comes after two Slovenian NGOs urged Pahor, Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina last week not to allow the Afganistani, who has lived in Slovenia since 2015, to be deported.
The NGOs have noted that Noor had asked for asylum before finding himself in a deportation procedure, which is taking years. In the meantime, he has integrated himself in the Novo Mesto community, and is living with his Slovenian partner and her son.
According to his partner Dragana, a family reunion procedure has been initiated at the relevant administrative unit, but the police had again taken Noor in October to the centre for foreigners in Postojna, where he is facing deportation.
"His family, home, friends and work are waiting for him. He is an excellent cook and he has been offered a job several times, but no employer can hire him because his status has not been tackled," she told the press recently.
Noor was recently visited by journalists of the public broadcaster TV Slovenija, and spoke with them in Slovenian.
While forwarding the letter from the NGOs to Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar, the president's office has also sent a request for the case to be examined carefully.
It said that rulings of the European Court of Human Rights place emphasis on family life and family reunion in cases of people who ask for asylum.
The NGOs have noted that before the first interview in Postojna aimed at establishing facts about Noor's family life, the Novo Mesto administrative unit had decided not to give him a residence permit.
This way the foreigner and his Slovenian partner have been left without legal means to prevent deportation. "The treatment is shocking because the police are being so apparently wrong in their interpretation of laws."
The NGOs said that the European Court of Human Rights argued that the right to family life must not be made conditional on how the person in question had entered the country.
You can sign a petition in support of Noor here
STA, 26 November 2019 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec visited the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants and the appertaining asylum centre in the Ljubljana Vič borough on Tuesday, praising their efforts.
Accompanied by Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar, Šarec visited the Reception and Support Division and was acquainted with accommodation procedures.
A release from the Government Communication Office said that the issue of integration of persons with recognised international protection status ranked prominently during the visit.
It said that the main challenge in the field was preparing action plans of integration for the implementation of the government's migration strategy.
The release said that, in dealing with the challenges of migration, Slovenia remained committed to preserving a right balance between solidarity and security.
Šarec also visited the division for families where he met the youngest residents of the asylum centre. Commenting on his visit, he said that asylum seekers were being accommodated and attended to in accordance with Slovenian and EU legislation.
He found that the accommodation capacities were not overcrowded and that apart from regular psychosocial care the asylum seekers benefited from many other activities provided by NGOs. The prime minister praised the efforts put in the integration of migrants.
Upon his visit, the asylum centre accommodated 201 residents, most of them coming from Morocco, Algeria and Iraq.
STA, 14 October 2019 - The Constitutional Court has annulled part of the controversial amendments passed in January 2017 that define a special temporary regime on the border in the event of mass migration.
The Court annulled sections of clause 10.b which would effectively allow the country to suspend asylum law in special circumstances that would have to be endorsed by absolute majority in parliament.
The special system, imposed for a six-month period with the possibility of extension in a pre-defined area, would involve refusal to admit foreigners who do not meet entry criteria and the expulsion of those who have already entered the country unlawfully.
If they expressed the intention of asking for asylum, requests would be rejected by police as unfounded unless there were systemic shortcomings with regard to asylum in the EU country from which such a person entered.
Such systemic shortcomings would include the risk of torture, inhumane or degrading behaviour.
The amendments were passed despite concerns raised by NGOs, the Council of Europe and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that they were in breach of international treaties.
Due to the concerns, the amendment was challenged at the top court by the human rights ombudsman in April 2017.
The Constitutional Court announced on Monday that it several sections of clause 10.b violated the Article 18 of the Constitution, which guarantees the principle of non-refoulement.
Clause 10.b does not guarantee, neither in Slovenia nor a neighbouring EU member, access to fair and effective legal procedure that would guarantee a substantive assessment that refoulement could not put the person in jeopardy of non-humane and degrading treatment.
A country may return an individual to a third country only if the third country is deemed safe; however, trust between countries should not be absolute. The person requesting asylum must get the opportunity to challenge the presumption of safety in this country.
Moreover, the contentious clauses also narrow the number of reasons that can be cited by those who are challenging the assumed safety of the neighbouring EU member state, the court said.
Also, the rejection of intention to request for asylum by one country does not obligate the neighbouring EU member state to accept this person, the court said.
The decision was adopted with eight votes in favour and one against, with judge Klemen Jaklič also issuing a dissenting opinion. In it he said that he had been subjected to "unacceptable" pressure due to his dissenting position in this case.
The Interior Ministry, which had drafted the 2017 changes to the foreigners act, said it would respect the Constitutional Court decision. Vesna Györkös Žnidar, the then interior minister, has not commented on the decision.
The Human Rights Ombudsman Peter Svetina, who challenged the changes in Constitutional Court, is happy with the decision. He sees the decision as a "welcome confirmation of constitutional and convention standards ... Being a country government by the rule of law, we cannot just bypass them when this may seem convenient".
Most political parties meanwhile seem reluctant to comment on the decision. The opposition Left labelled the decision on the "obnoxious" legislative changes made by the Miro Cerar government as appropriate.
The party moreover said that this alone would not suffice, as reports suggested that migrants were being returned and prevented from requesting asylum also without the contentious changes in force.
Also happy was MEP Milan Brglez, former parliamentary speaker and a former MP for the then senior coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC). He was one of several coalition MPs who voted against the changes in January 2017.
While Karl Erjavec, the president of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS), said he could not yet comment because he had not read the decision yet, Zmago Jelinčič, the leader of the opposition National Party (SNS) said that the Constitutional Court should first and foremost protect the Slovenian state and its citizens.
Democrats (SDS) head Janez Janša tweeted that "the left majority" at the Constitutional Court "abolished the safeguard in the foreigners act at a time when we are in danger of a refugee wave once more due to the Turks. There is no end to betrayal and anti-Slovenian policy of the leftists."
The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, 11 October
STA, 11 October 2019 - There is little chance the Left does not pull out of its cooperation deal with Marjan Šarec's minority government, the left-wing weekly Mladina says in Friday's editorial, as it takes a look at how the government will turn right as it tries to justify its break with the opposition party.
"It has been clear since the early summer that the reactionary and neoliberal views will prevail in the coalition over the progressive views promoted by the Left."
Mladina's editor-in-chief Grega Repovž says the Left's views could hardly be labelled extremist, saying they are aligned with contemporary trends in Europe.
The only difference is that in Europe, such views are also promoted by conservative governments, which understand the role the state must play to secure long-term stability.
However, the Šarec coalition is starting to go down a similar path like Eastern European governments.
It has started with an economic policy cutting taxes for the rich and for companies and leaving industries and companies of national importance to the mercy of market forces.
This will be followed by an ideological shift towards the right, Repovž says under the headline Political Shift to the Right.
The funny thing is the shift will not happen for political or ideological reasons, but because this is the easiest way, enabling the government to avoid a conflict with centres of power and the public.
The more the government assumes neoliberal views in the coming months and the more it tries to justify its break with the Left, the more populist and conservative rhetoric it will use, resembling ever more those on the right.
This will bring it exactly to the point where the previous Miro Cerar government had found itself. Šarec's government will continue to avoid change, while neglecting the contemporary political agenda, which also includes the climate crisis.
STA, 10 October 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija expresses support in its commentary on Thursday for the Save Slovenia protest, a rally to be held in Ljubljana this afternoon.
Under the headline Rebellion, its editor-in-chief Jože Biščak draws parallels between Slovenia and "ominous" regulation planned in New York that might spark a civil war in the US "which might be much bloodier than the one a century and a half ago".
The magazine refers to reports that New York is to ban the use of words "illegal alien", saying that this would encroach on the 1st amendment. This, alongside the 2nd amendment, which allows US citizens to carry weapons, is the last bulwark of freedom in the US, Biščak says.
Things are even worse in Europe, where "a 'great replacement' scheme is taking place right before our eyes" in which European natives are being replaced by Arab and African immigrants, with the latter enjoying increasingly more rights than the natives.
"European taxpayers are forced to pay for their integration. I use integration here because the intention of illegal immigration is not assimilation. At the same time, the all-encompassing climate change hysteria is leading to measures that go against common sense, and above all, raise taxes."
This sparked the yellow vests protests in France, while Dutch farmers have also taken to the streets because the "politically correct want to lower animal production, because farm animals are supposedly one of the main culprits for nitrogen emissions".
"The globalist elites have crossed the Rubicon and sparks of rebellion are flying across Europe. Slovenians are joining this trend with the all-Slovenian protest Save Slovenia."
The state has been drowning and the leftist elite, while stealing from the people, has been responding [to the criticism] with attacks about racism, xenophobia and fascism.
"They are spreading fear among people, nobody dares to say what they think and how they want to live any more. The right to self-defence has been criminalised and tyranny has become embedded everywhere."
The weekly hopes that protests for the rule of law, freedom and protection of the people will become regular weekly events. "There is still time to destroy the seed of evil sawn by the devastating cultural Marxism without a civil war, which has already broken out in some parts of Europe."
"I truly hope that I never have to start this commentary with the words: 'Slovenians, patriots, brothers and sisters, time has come'."
All our posts in this series are here
STA, 30 July 2019 - Slovenia's population stood at 2,084,301 on 1 April, which is 3,400 more than at the start of January, showed the Statistics Office data on Tuesday. The increase however comes on account of a larger number of foreign citizens, with the number of Slovenian citizens in fact decreasing.
The number of Slovenian citizens dropped by 1,600 in the first quarter of 2019, while the number of foreign citizens grew by 5,000 to 143,192 and represented 6.9% of Slovenia's population.
The share of women among Slovenian citizens, which at the start of April stood at some 51%, has been on a slow decline for quite some time.
Some 34% of foreign citizens living in Slovenia are women. The share decreased by 1.4 percentage points on January last year after being on the rise for many years.
Slovenia also recorded a markedly positive net migration rate in the first quarter of 2019 - a record number of more than 4,800, while the natural increase was negative (changing from -2.1 per 1,000 population to -2.8 in a year).
Compared to the same period of 2018, the number of immigrants to Slovenia increased by 47% to 7,943 in the first quarter of 2019.
Positive net migration was recorded for foreign nationals (5,273 persons), while 429 Slovene citizens more emigrated from Slovenia than immigrated to it.
STA, 24 July 2019 - On an average day in 2018 there were 54 births and 56 deaths in Slovenia; 78 people immigrated, 37 people emigrated, there were 20 weddings and 6 divorces, show Statistical Office data.
There were 19,585 live births and 20,485 deaths, in what was the second year in a row with more deaths than births. Most children were born in the summer, while most deaths happened in the winter.
A total of 7,256 couples married in 2018, which is 12% more than in 2017. With as many as 1,100 couples marrying in June, it was the most popular month for weddings in 2018. May, August and September are the only other months in which more than a thousand couples married.
There were 2,347 divorces last year, 1.7% less than in 2017.