STA, 7 August 2019 - The government decided on Wednesday to extend the deployment of auxiliary police to help the regular force cope with a spike in illegal migration on the Schengen border with Croatia and with other duties.
In line with today's decision, auxiliary police will be deployed until the end of the year to help patrol the border and stand in for absent regular police officers.
Under the valid legislation, auxiliary police may be called in for up to 30 days in a calendar year.
Only about 70% of police force jobs are filled on average, while illegal migration is on the rise, the government said.
It also noted a deterioration in road safety and the engagement of larger numbers of police officers in providing the security at a number of upcoming high-risk events such as a meeting of the NATO Military Committee, and the VIP Forum 2019 to be held in Ljubljana in September.
Security challenges will be stepped up later on in the year, so there is reason to expect an increased scope of duties in various areas of police work.
This is why most of the auxiliary police have already been engaged to help secure the border or stand in for regular police officers providing the security at high-risk events.
Some 460 auxiliary police have already been called in this year and they have already completed about a third of the 30 day-quota on average.
All our stories on the borders are here
STA, 20 July 2019 - Koper police apprehended on Friday over 120 migrants in the Ilirska Bistrica area close the southern border with Croatia's and the western border with Italy. Most of the migrants, the bulk of which are Afghan citizens, will be returned to Croatia today.
The Koper Police Administration said it discovered several small camps in the woods near Šembije on Friday afternoon. Reinforcements, police dogs and a helicopter were called in as the migrants started to flee.
Police have assessed that the group numbers around 200 in total and the search continues, with 122 people apprehended so far.
Most of them, 94, are Afghan citizens, while 27 are either from Pakistan or Bangladesh. Most will be returned to Croatia today. At least five of the migrants are minors and have been taken to an asylum centre.
STA, 18 July 2019 - The Slovenian government has adopted a framework migrations strategy that addresses both legal migrations as a major source of much needed labour, as well as illegal migrations as a source of security threats and challenges with regard to integration.
The strategy, the first such document in Slovenia, deals with migrations "over a long-term horizon in a multi-faceted and comprehensive way, prioritising a better understanding of all aspects of migrations," the government said on Twitter on Thursday.
In illegal migrations, Slovenia plans to focus on fast verification of eligibility for international protection, effective return of such persons, and elimination of sources of risk to national security.
The government says that "orderly and safe" migrations are beneficial for everyone, while illegal migrations "threaten the lives, security, health and basic human rights of migrants" and fan anti-immigration sentiment in recipient countries.
For legal migrations, the strategy aims to focus on eliminating structural imbalances on the labour market by attracting foreign workers as well as adopting concrete measures to entice Slovenians who have moved abroad to return.
The document was drafted by a task force that included ministries, law enforcement and intelligence services and will be followed up by action plans as well as a more detailed strategy for economic migrations.
Non-governmental organisations dealing with migrations welcomed the adoption the strategy and said they had been involved in the drafting of the document. Nevertheless, they said additional stakeholders should have been involved as well.
It would have made sense to involve trade unions, academia, and local government, said Katarina Bervar Sternad of PIC, a platform that offers legal advice to NGOs.
The document is an improvement on the original blueprint but involving more stakeholders would have given it a more long-term perspective on the challenges and opportunities that migrations bring, she told the STA.
STA, 17 July 2019 - More than 4,300 Slovenian citizens and some 24,100 foreigners immigrated to Slovenia last year, with the total share of Slovenia's population growth attributable to immigrants being the highest since 2008 - there were almost 15,000 more immigrants than emigrants, shows the Statistics Office data released on Wednesday.
Almost 6,600 Slovenians and more than 6,900 foreigners emigrated in 2018.
The share of immigrants increased by 51% last year compared to 2017, while the share of emigrants dropped by 23%.
The population growth attributable to Slovenian immigrants was negative for the 19th consecutive year - Slovenian emigrants exceeded Slovenian immigrants by almost 2,250 persons, while the immigration trend of foreigners remained positive for the 20th consecutive year.
Most foreigners who came to Slovenia (almost 50%) hailed from Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by citizens from Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Croatia.
On the other hand, Slovenians returning back to the native country usually migrated from Germany and Austria (24% and 17%, respectively), followed by Switzerland, the UK and Italy.
A quarter of Slovenians who moved out of the country in 2018 went to Austria, with the rest emigrating to Germany, Switzerland and Croatia.
Most foreigners who left Slovenia behind moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina (24%), Germany, Serbia and Croatia.
Slovenia's internal migrations decreased by some 7% in 2018 on the previous year, totalling almost 104,000 changes of residence (some 89,500 Slovenians and around 14,500 foreigners).
Almost half of people moving within the country were aged 20-39 years, with the majority (80%) moving to another municipality.
Foreigners were again more mobile than Slovenians - among the former, one out of ten moved at least once in 2018 on average, while one Slovenian out of 24 changed the place of residence on average.
More details on these figures can be found here
STA, 5 July 2019 - The police continues to detect a rising trend in the number of illegal crossings of the Slovenian border, with the number standing at 5,345 in the first half of the year or 47.1% more than in the same period in 2018. There is an increasing number of illegal migrants from Pakistan, Algeria and Morocco.
The biggest number of illegal crossings of the borders in the first half of the year was processed by police officers from the Koper, Novo Mesto and Ljubljana police departments.
By the end of June, 2,718 of illegal migrants expressed the intention to ask for international protection, which is 7.5% less than in the first half of 2018 (2,355).
According to the latest report, migrants who express the intention to ask for international protection frequently continue on their way to their actual target countries after being accommodated in asylum centres.
In the first half of the year, police officers recorded 355 cases in which foreigners crossed an internal Schengen border to Slovenia without valid documents or permits, which is 13.2% less than in the same period in 2018.
Pakistanis accounted for the most of such illegal entries, while they also dominate the statistics of illegal crossings of the external Schengen border.
A majority of such cases were recorded on the Slovenian border with Italy (226). The police notes that this is a relatively small number of cases, with the number of illegal entries on the border with Italy having dropped.
A total of 2,178 third country nationals were denied entry at border crossings for failing to meet the conditions to enter Slovenia or other EU countries, which is 10.8% more than in the first half of 2018.
Most of them were rejected on the border crossings with Croatia, and the biggest number of them were citizens of Afghanistan, followed by citizens of the Balkan countries.
The number of foreigners who were processed because they were not permitted to reside in Slovenia or other EU countries increased by almost a third to 2,728.
A majority of the cases related to expired residency permits, mostly involving citizens of the Western Balkan countries. An increasing number of Moldovan citizens are also being processed for this reason, as a consequence of visa liberalisation.
Slovenian police officers returned a total of 3,534 foreigners to the authorities of neighbouring countries in the first half of the year (up from 1,174), most of them to the Croatian authorities.
Foreign authorities meanwhile returned 333 persons to Slovenia in this period, including 23 Slovenian citizens, the report says.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.