Ljubljana related

18 Jul 2022, 11:36 AM

STA, 18 July 2022 - Slovenian police handled 6,006 cases of migrants crossing into the country illegally in the first half of the year, an increase of 75% from the same period a year ago. Almost a quarter of the migrants intercepted were from Afghanistan.

Police statistics show nearly half of all cases were handled by the Koper Police Department with the Novo Mesto Department also reporting considerable increase in cases.

The number of migrants indicating their intention to apply for international protection status nearly quadrupled to 5,209, mainly due to a strong increase in applications submitted by Afghanistan nationals.

The police also handled 6,101 applications for temporary protection, almost all of which were by Ukrainian citizens.

Afghanistan was the biggest source of illegal migration to Slovenia as the number of migrants from there more than doubled year-on-year to 1,316.

Pakistani nationals followed as the second largest group (718) ahead of Indians. The number of the latter rose from just 18 in the first half of last year to 473 in the same period this year.

There has also been a substantial increase in migrants from Nepal, from 46 to 274 this year. After no illegal migrants from Cuba or Burundi were registered in the first six months of 2021, 257 and 227 cases from those countries, respectively, were handled this year.

Of the 3,748 applications for international status received, 3,356 were solved, of which 98 positively. 40 applications were rejected, procedure was halted for 1,767 of them and 1,451 were thrown out.

Foreign law enforcement authorities returned 240 migrants to Slovenian police in the first half of the year, which compares to 77 in the same period a year ago. Most (173) were returned through airport.

Slovenian police sent back 1,206 migrants in the period, the vast majority to Croatia (1,115). In the same period last year a total of 1,658 migrants were returned by Slovenia, of whom 1,595 to Croatia.

06 Dec 2021, 16:47 PM

STA, 6 December 2021 - A 31-year-old national of Bangladesh has been found dead in the Dragonja valley in the border area between Slovenia and Croatia with initial information indicating hypothermia as the cause of death, the Koper Police Department has reported.

The police release said there had been no indications of foul play involved, but a post-mortem had been ordered and the Embassy of Bangladesh has been notified.

The Koper-based newspaper Primorske Novice reports online that the migrant's body had been found lying in the grass on the Slovenian side of the border by a local on Saturday morning. Next to the body, lying by the road linking the Dragonja and Sečovlje border crossings, was the dead man's ID.

The report said the man likely died when crossing the border a day or two before his body was found.

18 Jul 2021, 15:30 PM

STA, 17 July 2021 - Slovenia recorded what is the highest positive net migration since 2008 last year as almost 18,400 people more moved in than out. The Statistics Office says part of the reason for the increase is administrative changes in the population register.

Last year 36,110 people moved into Slovenia and 17,745 moved out, which marks an increase of 15% and 17%, respectively, compared with the year before.

The number of Slovenian citizens moving their permanent residence to Slovenia trebled to 11,360, which was due to cessation of temporary residence abroad under new provisions of the residence registration act.

Under those provisions, temporary address abroad ceased to 22,248 individuals ex officio as of 13 August 2020. Under the existing statistical methodology, 18,500 of those individuals would be included in the population and immigration count in 2020.

However, using different additional data sources, especially those that define the person's activity status from which it is possible to assume the person's actual residence in Slovenia, the statisticians eventually included fewer than 7,500 of those people in the final population count (among them 97% Slovenian citizens and 3% foreigners).

The Statistics Office says the majority of those residents most likely immigrated to Slovenia years or even decades ago, but failed to register their return at the administrative unit for some reason.

Net migration of foreign nationals was positive for the 22nd year in a row. Last year, 12,816 more foreigners moved into Slovenia than out.

Most of the Slovenian citizens that moved to Slovenia had previously resided in Germany or Austria (29% and 18% respectively), followed by Italy, Croatia and Switzerland.

Nearly half of all foreign immigrants in 2020 (46%) came from Bosnia-Herzegovina, followed by those from Kosovo, Serbia, North Macedonia and Croatia.

Last year, 5,811 Slovenian citizens moved out, 12% fewer than in 2019. A quarter (24%) left for Austria with another fifth (19%) moving to Germany.

The Statistics Office also recorded 127,052 internal migrants changing their place of residence within the country a total of 140,223 times last year, an increase of 42% compared with 2019.

This was as 12,461 residents changed their place of residence more than once.

6% of Slovenian population changed their place of residence at least once; one out of nine foreign citizens moved at least once, but only one in twenty Slovenian citizens.

Many of the internal migrations were linked to Covid-19 containment measures as many changed their official residence as movement between municipalities was banned in March and October.

The Statistics Office also recorded 1,725 people acquiring Slovenian citizenship last year as 43 lost it.

You can explore this data here

21 Apr 2021, 15:12 PM

STA, 21 April 2021 - European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson will start a two-day visit to Slovenia on Thursday to discuss the country's EU presidency preparations. She intends to raise the issue of media freedom and pluralism as well. Slovenia should not underestimate the risk to its international reputation when it comes to this, Johansson has told the STA.

The visit is primarily aimed at backing Slovenia's preparations for its EU presidency in the second half of 2021. The talks will focus on Schengen, migration and security as well as the situation of media in Slovenia, she told the STA ahead of the visit.

Johansson pointed out that this was not her portfolio, but that of European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova, who has raised concern over the situation on a number of occasions.

Since there is cause for concern, Johansson intends to raise the issue of media freedom and pluralism as well. She has also warned about harassment of journalists and verbal attacks against them.

Johansson would also like to discuss with the Slovenian government the financing of the Slovenian Press Agency (STA). "As far as I understand, it's regulated in the law," she said, hopeful that this issue could be resolved in a positive way.

"Slovenia should not underestimate the risk to its international reputation when it comes to media freedom and pluralism", especially just before taking over the EU presidency, she said, noting that these two principles "are a fundamental prerequisite for democracy".

The European Commission puts great emphasis on this issue as any pressure exerted on media freedom or pluralism or even attacks against them are also an attack on democracy, she said, adding that this was the first time this kind of concerns were raised about Slovenia.

The commissioner also pointed to the first annual Rule of Law Report, saying that the Commission already raised concern over the relevant situation in Slovenia in the September 2020 document. "As far as I understand, the situation has deteriorated since," she noted.

The Slovenian EU presidency could be a story of recovery as Europe will be going from pandemic mode to recovery mode during that time. Johansson hopes that Slovenia will take this opportunity "to be at the forefront of recovery in Europe".

Touching upon travel amid the pandemic in the summer, she is optimistic member states will not adopt discriminatory measures. She also hopes that come summer, the infection rate will go down and Europe could be reopened.

In June, right before the start of Slovenia's stint at the helm of the EU Council, Johansson plans to propose the Schengen reform. As part of the preparations, the first ever Schengen forum was launched in November to exchange views with various stakeholders. The second will be held in May.

The Commissioner highlights the need for political governance of the Schengen area and the upgrade of the Schengen evaluation system.

She also stresses the importance of lessons learned from the pandemic. The current legislation is based on a threat that comes towards a single member state, however the pandemic is widespread, she said.

In many situations, measures other than internal border checks are more effective, such as police cooperation and information exchange, she said, adding that the Schengen Information System should also be used more consistently.

She also hopes the Schengen zone could be extended. The Commission has assessed that Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria are ready for this step, but it is up to member states to decide on this, she said.

Johansson's main priority of her five-year term is to find a way out of an asylum reform deadlock. It seems that the new migration pact, proposed last year, has been at a standstill due to disagreements over migrant relocation, but the commissioner is optimistic.

She does not think the pact has been blocked, saying that everyone has been constructive in these efforts and there has been progress.

She hopes that Portugal's EU presidency will be able to close one or two segments of the pact, otherwise the Slovenian presidency will pick up.

She thinks mandatory solidarity, and not mandatory relocation, is a way forward as the latter is not popular in many member states. Now we should discuss what is a meaningful form of this solidarity apart from relocation, she noted.

The commissioner for home affairs will meet Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs on Thursday. She is also expected to meet Marko Gašperlin, the Slovenian who chairs the Frontex management board.

Moreover, a meeting is scheduled with Foreign Minister Anže Logar and relevant parliamentary committees.

After her visit, the commissioner will fly back to Brussels from Zagreb, so she will have the opportunity to meet Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović.

Regarding reports about violence against migrants perpetrated by the Croatian police, she said she was not satisfied with the situation and there were concerns, however the country had made progress. The Croatian authorities "are investigating and there are consequences for individuals that have been proved taking part in illegal activities".

Moreover, the first independent monitoring mechanism is in the works, a pilot project that is to be first launched in Croatia. "Bosnia-Herzegovina also has homework to do when it comes to migration management and migrant relocation within the country," she said.

Asked what she thought of ideas about redrawing Western Balkan borders in light of efforts for security and stability in the region, she said that "the European Commission fully respects sovereignty of those countries and their borders, we have no other ideas about their borders".

09 Oct 2020, 12:11 PM

STA, 8 October 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša called a session of the National Security Council for Friday afternoon after a record 387 people tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday. Apart from the coronavirus situation, the session, scheduled for 3pm, is also to discuss illegal migrations.

In total, 7,507 have tested positive since the pandemic reached Slovenia in the spring and 160 people have died. Data for Wednesday show some 2,700 active infections in Slovenia.

The share of positive tests has exceeded 10% for the first time on Wednesday and the virus is spreading fast among school and healthcare staff.

Today, the government adopted new restrictive measures, capping the number of people in gatherings to 10 as of tomorrow. Gatherings of up to 500 people will be possible only with the approval of the National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ).

Načrt za spopad z #2val #covid19

Posted by Janez Janša on Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Food and drinks will no longer be served at events, said Interior Minister Aleš Hojs, adding that the police will also conduct strict oversight of compliance with new gathering restrictions at weekly Friday protests.

Moreover, bars and restaurants will only be allowed to serve customers sitting down and observing a personal distance of 1.5 metres, unless they are members of the same household.

The National Security Council session was called a week after Hojs said that the migrant smuggling market was in full swing, also adding that the Interior Ministry still wanted to give the military police powers to help out along the border.

Talking to public broadcaster TV Slovenija tonight, Hojs said the ministry realised "the Schengen code allows some other state bodies to control borders as well". The ministry explained subsequently that this involved the Financial Administration, inspectorates as well as the military.

Between 1 January and 15 September, the police have detected 11,117 attempts at illegal border crossings, compared to 10,906 in the same period last year.

08 Sep 2020, 18:12 PM

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.

08 Sep 2020, 11:23 AM

STA, 8 September 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called for a joint approach to the new coronavirus and to illegal migration as they met in Ljubljana this morning.

Janša and Kurz agreed that a full lockdown because of coronavirus should be avoided this autumn, with Kurz stressing that a "light at the end of the tunnel" could already be seen in the fight against the virus.

The chancellor said Austria's goal was to keep schools open, and preserve normal life in all areas as much as possible but with certain rules and adjustments.

Janša warned that the danger of the epidemic was not over yet, as infection numbers were going up throughout Europe. But unlike in the spring, now fewer people develop the disease and die from it, which probably means "we've learned something" and that the protective measures work, he said.

The prime minister noted that Austria and Slovenia had worked closely when the pandemic started, and that Austria had been a kind of a role model for Slovenia in the first, worst weeks of the battle against the virus, being one of the few European countries that were well prepared for the pandemic.

The pair agreed such cooperation would continue.

Turning to illegal migration, Janša stressed that protecting the EU's external borders would be crucial. He called for a strengthening of border protection, a joint EU approach to the issue and assistance to the countries that could be hit the hardest so as to avoid the situation Europe was in in 2015.

He also said countries on the EU's external borders should be assisted. Janša and Kurz agreed that protecting the external borders was essential for removing check points on the EU's internal borders.

The Austrian chancellor, who is on his first visit abroad since the start of the pandemic in February, said "we need a stronger, more competitive Europe in the globalised world". He said today's visit to Slovenia was a sign of a special bond between the two countries.

The pair labelled bilateral relations between Slovenia and Austria as good. Austria is Slovenia's third most important economic partner and the biggest foreign investor.

Janša said the government was preparing measures to make Slovenia even more attractive to foreign investors. Kurz welcomed this, noting that Slovenia was an important economic partner of Austria and that several thousand Austrian companies operated in Slovenia.

The talks also touched on the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Carinthian plebiscite, after which a sizeable part of the Slovenian-speaking territory became Austria after World War I, and the plans for the Slovenian and Austrian presidents to mark the anniversary in Klagenfurt on 10 October together.

This will be the first time that the presidents of both countries will attend the ceremony, so Janša welcomed the initiative. He said several issues regarding the Slovenian minority in Austria remained open but that now they could be tackled easier than in the past.

Kurz also discussed this with President Borut Pahor today, who welcomed the programme of the Austrian government for tackling the issues of minorities and expressed hope that some of the measures discussed would become laws soon. Kurz expressed his genuine readiness for this, according to Pahor's office.

In talks with Janša, Kurz said that his government's programme for the anniversary did not envisage only a financial present for the minority to mark the anniversary but also other measures to support the Slovenian community in the future. He did not specify though when the minority is to receive this present.

Kurz also touched on the efforts to recognise the German-speaking community in Slovenia as a minority in the Constitution, saying Vienna was "grateful" for that.

Janša and Kurz are later scheduled to head to Triglav for a climbing adventure in the north face of Slovenia's highest mountain, with Kurz telling the press he was not worried as the Slovenian prime minister was an experienced climber.

09 Jul 2020, 10:55 AM

STA, 9 July 2020 - After restrictions imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic suppressed illegal migration into Slovenia, police have recorded a renewed steep rise in the numbers trying to cross the border illegally.

Police handled 4,993 instances of illegal border crossing between 1 January and 30 June, a decrease of 12.4% compared to the same period last year, but a renewed upward trend was detected recently.

However, presenting more detailed data at Wednesday's session of the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee, Interior Ministry State secretary Franc Kangler said the six-month statistics in fact reflected the situation in three months only, as there was little illegal migration when the border was closed.

Deputy Police Commissioner Tomaž Pečjak said that by Wednesday morning 5,514 attempted to enter the country illegally, up from 5,300 only two days earlier.

This means that more than one percentage point of the "deficit" compared with the same period last year has been offset in a matter of two days, said Pečjak.

The police recorded 1,755 instances of illegal crossing in June, which compares to 1,200 in the same peak month last year, with Pečjak commenting that if the trend continued the 2,000 mark will be crossed in July.

Committee chair Branko Grims (SDS) voiced concern about the "drastic" increase in illegal migrants, projecting that if the trend continued the total for the year would hit or even surpass 20,000.

Given the increase, there is a shortage of 700 police officers, Kangler said, urging the committee to call on the government to retable the proposal to invoke a special article of the defence act that would give soldiers police powers to secure the border.

The committee responded to his appeal by backing the corresponding resolution despite criticism from the opposition.

Grims said that the committee also backed by eight votes in favour and none against the proposal to recommend to the government to withdraw from the global compact for migration.

Arguing that the agreement was but a dead letter, Grims said that by withdrawing from it Slovenia would give a clear signal to illegal migrants that it did not want to be a destination country.

The police report shows that there has been a substantial increase in the number of Moroccans in January-June, with 1,281 attempting to enter the country illegally in the first half of the year.

Along with the citizens of Pakistan (1,264) and Afghanistan (719), Moroccans are involved in more than three out of four instances of illegal crossing, a police report shows.

The number of those expressing the intention to seek asylum decreased by almost 20% year-on-year to 1,766 as of the end of June, which the police said was because of a decline in the number of Algerians, who found an alternative route into Europe.

The most of those who expressed their intention to ask for international protection were Moroccan nationals (761), followed by Afghans (250) and Algerians (226).

Since Morocco would not repatriate its citizens, police have had difficulty returning those whose asylum applications have been rejected.

Another issue pointed out in the report is secondary migration when applicants leave the country during or after the asylum procedure and file a new request in another country if they are apprehended there.

The main point of entry for illegal migrants on the internal border remains Italy.

The number of foreigners found to have entered Slovenia without proper documents or permits across the internal border declined by 22% year-on-year in the first six months, which is attributed to the restrictions related to the pandemic.

Western Balkan countries in particular imposed restrictions on movements and even shut migrant centres, however, estimates are that between 10,000 and 15,000 migrants are stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

25 Jun 2020, 14:18 PM

Časoris is an online newspaper aimed at children. Each week we’ll take an article and post it here as a Slovene-English dual text.

Utrinki z mej za boljši svet

Moments from the borders for a better world

Written by Sonja Merljak Zdovc, translated by JL Flanner & G Translate

Vsako minuto 20 ljudi zapusti dom, da bi ubežali vojni ali nasilju.

Every minute, 20 people leave home to escape war or violence.

Ob 20. juniju, svetovnem dnevu beguncev, v Organizaciji združenih narodov pravijo, da vsako dejanje šteje.

On June 20, World Refugee Day, the United Nations says every action counts.

Epidemija novega koronavirusa in protirasistični protesti so pokazali, da si moramo prizadevati za bolj vključujoč in enakopraven svet. Prav vsak lahko pomaga, da bomo skupaj bolje in lepše živeli.

The new coronavirus epidemic and anti-racist protests have shown that we must strive for a more inclusive and equal world. Everyone can help us together have better and more beautiful lives.

V Sloveniji bo eden od dogodkov ob svetovnem dnevu beguncev okrogla miza o migracijskih tokovih na balkanski poti, ki jo pripravljajo v Inštitutu ISCOMET iz Maribora v okviru projekta Snapshots from the Borders.

In Slovenia, one of the events on the occasion of World Refugee Day will be a roundtable on migration flows on the Balkan route, which is being prepared at the ISCOMET Institute in Maribor as part of the Snapshots from the Borders project.

V mednarodnem projektu sodeluje več kot 30 lokalnih skupnosti in organizacij civilne družbe iz 13 držav članic Evropske unije.

Taking part in the international project are more than 30 local communities and civil society organizations from 13 European Union member states

»Projekt je nastal na pobudo mesta Lampedusa v Italiji, tudi kot spomin na tragičen dogodek, ko je v prevrnjeni ladji, polni beguncev, 3. oktobra 2013, pred otokom umrlo več kot 360 ljudi,« pojasnjuje Franc Mlinar iz inštituta. Iz Slovenije pri projektu sodelujeta še Mestna občina Maribor in občina Črnomelj.

"The project was initiated by the city of Lampedusa in Italy, also in memory of the tragic event when more than 360 people died in front of the island in an overturned ship full of refugees on October 3, 2013," explains Franc Mlinar from the institute. The Municipality of Maribor and the Municipality of Črnomelj are also participating in the project from Slovenia.

S projektom želijo seznaniti javnost s stanjem na področju migracij in prispevati k odpravljanju strahov in predsodkov.

With the project, they want to inform the public about the situation in the field of migration and contribute to overcoming fears and prejudices.

»Sedaj migracije prikazujejo javnosti kot problem, ki ogroža varnost Slovenije. Zdi se, da so se ustavne in mednarodne obveznosti Slovenije pa tudi njene potrebe po delovni sili skrčile na fizično varovanje meje z ograjami ter s policijskimi in vojaškimi enotami ter na vračanje beguncev in migrantov na Hrvaško oziroma v Bosno in Hercegovino.«

"Migration is now portrayed to the public as a problem that threatens Slovenia's security. It seems that Slovenia's constitutional and international obligations, as well as its labour needs, have shrunk to the physical protection of the border with fences and police and military units, and to the return of refugees and migrants to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. "

S projektom želijo prispevati k oblikovanju sistema vključevanja tujcev v družbo, predvsem na področju izobraževanja in zaposlovanja, prispevati k oblikovanju stališč Slovenije do tega vprašanja v okviru EU in oblikovati mrežo evropskih obmejnih mest za izmenjavo izkušenj pri urejanju migracij in pri integraciji tujcev v lokalno okolje.

The project aims to contribute to the formation of a system of integration of foreigners into society, especially in the field of education and employment, to contribute to the formation of Slovenia's positions on this issue within the EU, and create a network of European border posts for exchanging experiences in migration and the integration of foreigners.

Read more stories and improve your Slovene at Časoris, while all our dual texts can be found here.

18 Sep 2019, 10:15 AM

STA, 17 September 2019 - Slovenia keeps seeing a surge in illegal migration with the latest police data showing that the number of illegal crossings peaked at 2,352 in August, the highest monthly figure since the 2015-16 refugee crisis.

In the first eight months of the year, police registered 9,801 instances of people trying to cross illegally into the country, which compares to 5,899 in the whole last year.

In most of the cases the migrants were citizens of Pakistan (2,344), followed by Algerians (1,427) and Afghanis (1,064).

The largest number of cases was handled by the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments (3,310, 2,672 and 1,975, respectively.

The migrants filed 2,577 petitions for asylum between January and the end of August this year, almost 500 more than in the whole of 2018.

Of the 2,475 petitions whose processing has been completed, asylum status was granted to 49 migrants.

Slovenian police returned 6,533 migrants to foreign law enforcement authorities (2,411 in the whole of 2018), while foreign police forces returned 461 migrants to Slovenia (372 in the 12 months of 2018).

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