Ljubljana related

19 May 2019, 10:33 AM

Mladina: Slovenia has short-sighted migration policy

STA, 17 May 2019 - Commenting on the migration situation, the weekly Mladina says in Friday's editorial that the government of Marjan Šarec is continuing the short-sighted policy of the previous government of Miro Cerar by increasing the number of police officers and soldiers on the border, setting up more fence an preventing asylum requests.

"However, it does not have the courage to set up reception centres and face the migration flow, process these people and determine who meets the conditions [to stay in the country] and who does not, help them integrate or return them to their countries if they are not danger zones - in short, what this country was actually doing before the 2015 refugee wave," says editor-in-chief Grega Repovž.

The number of crossings of the border and asylum requests has not risen so much. "We have seen all this before and dealt with it for decades - but now we have closed the borders and thus turned refugees into illegal migrants and pushed them to city streets, outskirts of villages and forests."

We have no idea how many of them are moving illegally across the country or waiting for transport out of the country in Ljubljana, Repovž says.

We also have no idea how many people are illegally transporting refugees or provide them with shelters in exchange for money, or how many supply them with food. That is the reality, according to Repovž.

As soon as a country starts breaking the law, it has a hard time demanding from others to respect international law.

"And that is what is our biggest mistake. We know that refugees in Croatia have no rights. That they are being illegally transported to Bosnia-Herzegovina. By copying these patterns, we are losing the opportunity to demand the respect of European asylum rules from our neighbour," Repovž says under the headline More Fences, More Soldiers, More Cops.

Demokracija: Critical of govt's inaction after abduction

STA, 16 May 2019 - The right-wing weekly Demokracija is critical of the government after an elderly man was abducted by a group of illegal migrants who stole his car to reach the border with Italy.

"Pro-migrant activists and the agitprop of mainstream media launched a theory that Moravec was not abducted, that the abduction had been staged for the purpose of EU election campaign."

It is horrifying how far some politicians, pro-migrant mouthpieces and agitprop Bolsheviks have gone.

Instead of condemning the abduction and promising to do anything in their power to prevent something like this from happening again, the left has decided to criminalise the victims.

What is more, they labelled the protest in which locals expressed their concern a rally of intolerance and hate speech. It is incomprehensible that people even have to take to the streets for the government to start following the rules.

"We need to make it clear: It's been enough! If the government fails to guarantee security and respect for its own laws, the people have the right to protect their property and lives themselves!" the weekly says under the headline Hostage and Soros's Devil's Advocates.

11 May 2019, 08:36 AM

STA, 10 May 2019 - The investigating magistrate in the case of the abduction of a man by illegal immigrants has ordered that all three suspects arrested on Wednesday remain in detention. Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar meanwhile said the police were in control of the situation on the border with Croatia and that "there is presently no need for protest rallies".

 

A 25-year-old Morocco citizen and two 18-year-olds from Algeria are accused of abduction, theft and car robbery, prosecutor Srečko Hočevar told the media.

The three were arrested on Wednesday by Italian police and handed to Slovenia on suspicion they had abducted a 79-year-old man working in his vineyard near the Croatia border and had used his car to get to Italy. The man was released before the border.

Responding to the developments today, minister Poklukar said he regrets "that this criminal act occurred", but is "happy that it ended well".

"The Slovenian police are effective and successfully completed the arrest of the perpetrators together with the Italian police," the minister said on the sidelines of a fair in Portorož.

While Poklukar is convinced Slovenia is a safe country with a functioning national security system, he said the country was facing an increase in the number of crossings on the Croatian border.

"In the recent days we stepped up police activities and increased the number of army units in municipalities with a higher number of illegal crossings."

Commenting on the protest rally announced for Saturday in the Bela Krajina border region, the minister said that the police were in control and that no protests or discontent were necessary.

Analysts fear rise of anti-migration populism after incident

STA, 10 May 2019 - Two analysts quizzed by the STA feel that Wednesday's abduction of an elderly man by illegal migrants will have a profound effect on the ongoing EU election campaign. Andraž Zorko of pollster Valikon and Igor Kršinar, a journalist for the weekly Reporter, also agree PM Marjan Šarec made a mistake by not responding to the incident more aggressively.

Zorko said "nothing will be the same" after Wednesday, arguing the incident confirmed the darkest fears spread by the far-right - "that it is not refugees who are entering Slovenia but economic migrants who can be violent".

He added the development would boost the campaign of the parties with the hardest anti-migration stances, primarily the recently formed Homeland League (DOM) followed by the opposition Democrats (SDS).

While Zorko believes the opposition National Party (SNS) and its head Zmago Jelinčič, "a left nationalist", can only hope to win over a few centre-left voters frustrated with their primary parties' migration policies, Kršinar believes Jelinčič will be the biggest beneficiary of the incident.

Kršinar said Jelinčič had already stood out during Thursday's campaign debate on TV Slovenija: "He might even make it to the European Parliament, which will definitely be a special kind of affair."

Kršinar does not believe DOM will benefit, arguing the party has not attracted enough media attention and that unlike Jelinčič, DOM's leader Bernard Brščič is not a capable public speaker.

"Jelinčič says in a few words what many people want to hear but do not have the nerve to say. So called serious parties actually have a problem in that they cannot perform in the manner Jelinčič is doing it," he said.

Kršinar meanwhile feels that it remains unclear for now how much the SDS can gain. "Of course it will try to use the incident in its favour and it will be among the more important participants of Saturday's rally in Bela Krajina" border region, where the immigrants abducted the man and his car to get to Italy.

As for Šarec's decision to reject the SDS's call for a session of the National Security Council, Kršinar said the prime minister "made a major mistake and missed the opportunity to publicly demonstrate his determination to secure order and peace".

Zorko also said this was "a very bad message to the people living on the border", while both also highlighted the failure of Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar to appear at Thursday's press conference of the police.

The pair agrees a determined reaction would have been necessary from the state, since the situation is feeding the growth of populist movements.

"A determined PM would have immediately sent the army to the border and extended the border fence," Kršinar said, suggesting Šarec's LMŠ party may even fail to get a single MEP elected in the upcoming election because of the situation.

04 Mar 2019, 12:45 PM

STA, 2 March 2019 - Around EUR 7.8m in budget funds was spent on migration-related issues last year. The Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants accounted for the bulk of spending, EUR 3.48m, and it estimates outlays will rise to EUR 4m this year.

Of that, EUR 3.6m will be spent on supplies and services, EUR 100,000 for transfers to individuals and households, and EUR 300,000 for other domestic transfers, Finance Ministry data show.

The Foreign Ministry spent roughly EUR 1.2m on helping refugees in Turkey and Western Balkans, a figure projected to drop in 2019, with the Slovenian Armed Forces booking EUR 2.4m in migrations-related expenses.

The Interior Ministry, the Public Administration Ministry, the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, the government's secretariat-general, and the Financial Administration did not have any migration-related expenses last year.

The Health Ministry did not spend any money on migrants either, although hospitals and health centres recorded around EUR 338,000 in migration-related expenses.

All our stories on migrants and Slovenia can be found here

10 Jan 2019, 12:50 PM

STA, 8 January 2019 - The Koper Science and Research Centre (Znanstveno-Raziskovalno Središče Koper) has won a EUR 2.8m project as part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme to study and help overcome the obstacles to the integration of migrant children into European societies.

The three-year project will run until the end of 2021, the Koper centre said in a press release on Tuesday.

This is the first Horizon 2020 research project in the field of social sciences that will be led by a Slovenian centre, said the Koper centre, which was picked among 30 bidders from all over Europe.

The project entitled Migrant Children and Migrant Communities in the Changing Europe will study the inclusion of migrant children in the societies of European countries from the perspective of the child.

Based on field studies carried out in ten countries, recommendations for legislative changes and political measures will be made. Computer applications featuring tools aimed at improving the integration of children into the society will be developed for use in almost all EU countries.

Field research will be conducted in primary schools and high schools, migrant centres and asylum centres in Slovenia, Austria, Spain, the UK, Denmark, Poland, Italy, France, Greece and Turkey.

Researchers will develop various computer apps for teachers, migrant children and local children to promote multiculturalism and dialogue.

The Koper centre will cooperate on the project with three other Slovenian institutions - the Peace Institute, the Faculty of Computer and Information Sciences, and the Faculty of Design.

13 Dec 2018, 12:50 PM

The Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia (SURS) has pulled together some data and made a few observations ahead of International Migrants Day on December 18.

The headline figure is that one in eight residents of Slovenia is an immigrant, with up to 250,000 (12.1% of the population) people being foreign-born, although just over half of these (137,000) now have Slovenian citizenship. Moreover, some of these individuals were born as Slovenian citizens (i.e. born to Slovenian parents abroad), while others became so by naturalisation. In addition, not all foreign citizens in Slovenia are classed as immigrants, as among the roughly 122,000 residents of the country with foreign citizenship about 8,600 (7%) were born in Slovenia, and so not immigrants.

In terms of country of origin, most immigrants, 86%, are from other members of the former Yugoslavia, followed by Germany (7,300), Italy (4,100) and the Russian Federation (3,000). The most common non-European countries of birth are China (1,000), the United States (800), and Argentina and Canada (400 each).

The number of immigrants is rising, and has been for decades. A census in 1948 found that just 5.5% of those living in Slovenia were born outside its borders. In 2002 this figure was 8.5%, and in 2018 it had risen to 12.1%. Overall, there are slightly more foreign men than foreign women in Slovenia (57% vs 43%), although this is mainly due to the greater imbalance seen in the 2000s, when roughly two men came to Slovenia for every woman. The figures for recent arrivals are much more balanced.

Finally, SURS notes that the average immigrant to Slovenia is a man with upper secondary education, citizen of Slovenia, born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, aged almost 49 years who first immigrated to Slovenia in the 1990s.

You can learn more about the data by visiting SURS here, where you’ll find many other links and figures of interest about the country.

Related: The places where foreigners live in Slovenia and where they come from

11 Dec 2018, 13:00 PM

STA, 10 December 2018 - Slovenia was among more than 150 UN member countries that endorsed the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an inter-governmental conference in Marrakesh on Monday.

Heading Slovenia's delegation at the two-day inter-governmental conference, Interior Ministry State Secretary Sandi Čurin said the document was not ideal, but it was a good compromise designed to enhance international cooperation in all aspects of migration.

"The agreement is a framework that offers guidance, recommendations how to form national policies in the field of migration. The standards therein are largely already part of European policies and legislation," Čurin told the STA over the phone from Morocco.

The agreement was not joined by 40 countries, including Slovenia's neighbours Austria, Hungary and Italy, but Čurin does not see this as a problem for Slovenia, because the agreement's key points have been framed as part of EU legislation.

"Like I was saying, the agreement will in no way affect national legislation, at least not in European countries," he said.

"The agreement has been adopted by acclamation, which is a good basis for international cooperation, something that is more than needed if we want to address migration in a comprehensive and effective way," he said.

In joining the document, Slovenia "explicitly respected the principles such as countries' sovereignty to determine their national policies and legislation related to migration, distinguishing between legal and illegal migration and allowing forced return [of migrants] when voluntary is not possible".

Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, speaking on the sidelines of an EU ministerial in Brussels, said he believed "the agreement will mostly bring positive things", but stressed that action would also have to be taken to prevent illegal migrations at the national level in the future.

"Despite much turbulence the Marrakesh global agreement on migrations caused in Europe, I'm calm now," said Cerar, adding the adoption of the agreement put an end to attempts by extreme populists to use non-truths, misinformation and scaremongering to scare people to gain politically.

However, such efforts will resurface again before next year's European elections and later, so it is important for Slovenia to have a positive attitude towards globalisation and to promote human rights and cooperation on migrations at the global level, he said.

Highlighting the need for multilateralism, Cerar reiterated his view that no country, not even the largest one, can handle on its own challenges such as climate change, migrations, digitalisation and security.

He is happy the Slovenian government made the right decision to join the agreement. Although it is not legally binding, the agreement facilitates common efforts to prevent illegal migrations, especially the return of illegal migrants, the foreign minister stressed.

The first inter-governmentally negotiated agreement on a common approach to international migration in all of its dimensions, the agreement has divided European countries as well as the public in Slovenia.

The document sets out 23 objectives for better managing migration in the interests of countries, migrants and the communities hosting them.

In July this year, the agreement was backed by all 193 UN member countries except for the US, which withdrew from the negotiations in December 2017.

The countries which have not joined it argue the document does not distinguish between legal and illegal migrations, but encroaches on national sovereignty in migration policy.

Offering similar arguments, the right-wing opposition parties in Slovenia had urged the government to reject it. They had also said the agreement does not address the causes of migration in the countries of origin.

The Democratic Party (SDS) filed for a referendum on the document, but it is not clear whether such a vote will be admissible. The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee is to discuss the matter later this week.

Today, a protest against the document was held in front of the parliament building.

Meanwhile, opposition New Slovenia (NSi) leader Matej Tonin expressed regret that a Slovenian delegation took part in the Marrakesh conference, reiterating opposition to the agreement.

The compact "promotes multiculturalism in a rather aggressive way where it appears as if it should be us who almost had to adapt to those who come here, rather than the other way around", Tonin said.

The agreement includes many recommendations as to how the culture and customs of the immigrants should be respected. "However, the NSi believes that the guests in our house have an obligation to adapt to our customs and to subject to our laws and the constitution," he said.

Tonin added that Slovenia's joining the agreement could be a wrong message to the migrants waiting in the Balkans to continue their journey north.

"A open-door policy is false solidarity which causes even more problems. If countries want to help, they should help them by means of expertise, technology so they can create suitable living conditions for themselves," the NSi said.

The agreement, which is not legally binding, will be endorsed by a resolution at the UN General Assembly on 19 December.

Anti-UN migration pact rally staged in front of parliament

STA, 10 December 2018 - An estimated 200 to 250 people gathered on Monday in front the parliament building in Ljubljana in what appears to be a protest against the UN migration pact adopted in Marrakesh.

The statements of the protesters, some of which have donned yellow vests, indicate they are fearing the migration pact will have serious consequences for Slovenia.

They blocked access to parliament and disrupted traffic on the street in front of the parliament.

Many spoke of high treason, which was echoed by Bernard Brščič, an economist and former state secretary in the PM's office under the 2012/2013 Janez Janša government.

"Senior politicians are also aware of this and have turned tail, letting an insignificant clerk sign the declaration in their place," Brščič said.

While he said that the fear of a referendum will prevent a ratification in parliament that would make the declaration part of Slovenia's legal order, Brščič insisted this is an international treaty that will have legal consequences.

The protesters meanwhile argued they were not only protesting against the migration pact, also listing the failure to get the voice of small people heard, flawed referendum legislation and the need for national sovereignty and the liberation of society.

Before the anti-UN migration pact rally, the same location was used for a small rally by representatives of trade unions, who argued that workers rights were also part of human rights.

Slovenia is among the countries who have backed Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The right-wing opposition parties in Slovenia had urged the government to reject the agreement. They also say that the agreement does not address the causes of migration in the countries of origin.

The Democratic Party (SDS) has filed for a referendum on the document, but it is not clear whether such a vote would be admissible. The parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee is to discuss the matter later this week.

06 Dec 2018, 14:10 PM

A Slovenian human rights NGO, Danes je nov dan (Today is a New Day), has produced a game that aims to raise empathy with regard to the difficulties migrants face in leaving their countries and trying to find a safe space in another country.

It’s called Razor Wire, and was inspired by November 2018 being the third anniversary of the placing of such wire along the border with Croatia in order to deter migrants. Moreover, although the number of people trying to cross the border has since declined dramatically, and the new Prime Minister, Marjan Sareč, made removing the wire a campaign issue, the barrier still remains in place.

razorwire 04.JPG

Level one - escape the war

 

 

The game – which can be played online here, if you have a keyboard – is in Slovenian but relatively simple to follow, and requires you to guide a migrant through three increasingly difficult levels as they attempt to reach Europe.

Speaking to Reuters, Maja Cimerman, a project manager at the NGO, noted that "Many refugees... call their experience "the game" because it has many traps and obstacles. They have to travel at night, they have to avoid the police, they are often robbed or their documents are taken away by the police, and often or regularly they are sent back to refugee camps.”

We kept getting stuck on level 2, but perhaps you can do better.

22 Nov 2018, 10:20 AM

STA, 21 November - Democrat (SDS) leader Janez Janša announced his party would seek an advisory referendum on the UN Global Compact for Migration as discussion in parliament reaffirmed the divide among parties on the matter. At the same time, around 200 protesters gathered outside the parliament in opposition to the deal.

 

Parliament discussed in an emergency session on Wednesday the UN global compact at the behest of the conservative opposition Democrats (SDS), New Slovenia (NSi) and National Party (SNS), which consider the compact dangerous for Slovenia and believe the government should reject it.

MP Branko Grims, the SDS's chief migrations bullhorn, reiterated their stance that the agreement, which is to be adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco, next month, was misleading and would not tackle the root causes of migrations.

Conservatives also took issue with the way the decision to back the deal was made in Slovenia, with Janša saying that parliament should have discussed it first and only then the government instead of vice-versa.

Related: Šarec - Slovenia supports UN Compact, but opposed to illegal migration

"You did not leave us any other choice but to file for an advisory referendum," he said and added that the name of the deal was misleading.

In a reference to the decision of the US not to take part in the compact, Janša said that no deal that was not supported by all members of the UN Security Council was global.

On the other hand, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar reiterated that it was key for Slovenia to remain in the group of more than 150 countries by joining the compact. "This way, we will manage together the thing that no country can manage alone - mass migrations and illegal migrations."

He told the press that the opposition was "scaring people by misleading them, telling numerous nontruths and intentional lies".

"There are a few hundred refugees in Slovenia. Our borders are controlled," he stressed.

But this view is not shared by around 200 protesters in front of the parliament building carrying banners such as Slovenia for Slovenians. Protesters, who were also invited to join by Janša, are urging the government to reject the UN compact.

The session has been suspended, but it will end without any decisions anyway, because the proposal of the conservative parties was voted down by parliamentary committees last week.

UPDATE: The STA also reports that the Democrats (SDS) filed a demand for an advisory referendum on the UN Global Compact for Migration on Wednesday following a parliamentary session on the document. For the vote to take place, the motion needs to be endorsed by a regular majority in parliament.

 

A statement from the SDS said after the session that the motion was filed together by the SDS and the National Party (SNS).

The debate at the plenary indicated today that the only other party opposing the the government's decision that Slovenia support the document in Marrakesh in early December is the conservative New Slovenia (NSi).

Together, the three parties have 36 seats in the 90-member legislature.

If endorsed, the referendum question will read: Are you in favour of Slovenia joining the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that equates legal and illegal migrations?

SDS head Janez Janša called on other parties to support the motion and give the people a chance to voice their position after reading the compact. The Slovenian translation of the document has been available as of yesterday.

Janša indicated that the SDS would file the referendum motion during the plenary, saying that the process in which the document was approved in Slovenia was anti-constitutional and illegal. The government decided to endorse the document without political or legal discussions.

All our stories on immigration and Slovenia are here

A statement from the SDS said after the session that the motion was filed together by the SDS and the National Party (SNS).

The debate at the plenary indicated today that the only other party opposing the the government's decision that Slovenia support the document in Marrakesh in early December is the conservative New Slovenia (NSi).

Together, the three parties have 36 seats in the 90-member legislature.

If endorsed, the referendum question will read: Are you in favour of Slovenia joining the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that equates legal and illegal migrations?

10 Nov 2018, 08:18 AM

The covers and editorials from leading weeklies of the Left and Right for the work-week ending Friday, November 09, 2018.

Mladina: Cerar pushing Slovenia to the right on UN Migration Agreement

STA, 9 November - The left-leaning weekly Mladina says in its latest commentary that Foreign Minister Miro Cerar is actually criticising his former self as prime minister as he is changing his mind on Slovenia's support for the UN Global Compact for Migration.

In the commentary headlined Cerar against Cerar, editor-in-chief Grega Repovž notes that Cerar had said that "Slovenia endorsed this spring the Global Compact for Migration, but that the circumstances have changed since".

"'Slovenia must make sure ... that the present way of life, the European way of life is preserved'", Repovž quotes Cerar, wondering what is the European way of life he was referring to, adding that "we are in a serious trouble".

If you take a look at the list of countries which decided not to endorse the document, which is expected to be adopted in Marrakesh in December, one can see that it is not a list of countries of the European way of life.

"Hungary, Poland, Croatia, Austria - is this the company Minister Cerar would like to push Slovenia into?", Repovž wonders.

UN document clearly separates migrants and refugees

What is funny is that Cerar speaking about "changed circumstances" reads like criticism of Miro Cerar as prime minister, who agreed with the European Commission acceding to the Global Compact for Migration.

"As long as the accession to the Marrakesh agreement was something the European Union expected us to do, this had to be done. How provincial and typical."

But immediately after the right started expressing doubt about the document, the foreign minister was quick to talk about changed circumstances.

Cerar and Prime Minister Marjan Šarec should actually defend the agreement and stand behind it, present it to the public, introduce it into public discourse as a positive shift. But Cerar is obviously not taking the document seriously.

It is actually a very though-through, relatively conservative document, which very clearly separates the issues of refugees and migrants. Politicians could use it to stand against the rightist agenda which abuses migrants for populist purposes, concludes the commentary.

Demokracija: UN Migration Declaration Will Spread “Eurabia”

STA, 8 November 2018 - The right-wing magazine Demokracija sets out its case against the UN Global Compact for Migration in its latest editorial, asserting that signing the declaration without seeking people's endorsement in a referendum first would be high treason.

Referring to the 2005 riots in France, the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and Muslim ghettoes in Europe, such as Molenbeek on the outskirts of Brussels, editor-in-chief Jože Biščak argues that European countries are losing the battle against the spread of "Eurabia".

"Pockets of little Eurabias are scattered throughout the western part of the continent. Whenever right-wing politicians try to restore state jurisdiction over their territories, violent unrest follows.

The only solution is to use “brutal power” to remove immigrants

"The planned signing in December of the Marrakesh Declaration, which is irreversibly taking away countries' sovereign right to decide on migration flows on their territories, could seal the fate of Europe as we know it. This is why signing the declaration without having asked people's opinion in referendum will be high treason."

Biščak says that the way for Europe's Islamisation was paved by the 1975 Strasbourg Resolution, backed by 200 members of parliament from West European countries.

The resolution said that Arab immigrants to Europe had a right to transfer their culture, customs, way of life and religion to Europe.

"The native population tried to preserve their customs and traditions, but the political authorities did not demand of the immigrants to integrate in the western society, but rather let the Muslim immigrants, joined by blacks from Africa, to create their territories (little Eurabias) where they live by their rules. An the Marrakesh Declaration will legalise all that."

Finally, Biščak says that the only solution is to use "brutal power" and to have the army surround these Little Eurabias and move all the immigrants out of the country.

19 Oct 2018, 12:50 PM

STA, 18 October 2018 - Prime Minister Marjan Šarec met French President Emmanuel Macron for about half-an-hour long bilateral meeting in Brussels on Thursday which focused on cooperation at the EU level and the fight against populism. 

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