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News 11 Nov 15

Slovenia Starts Building Fence on Croatia Border

The Slovenian military started to erect a barbed wire fence on the border with Croatia on Wednesday, to stop refugees from entering the country using informal border crossings.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Slovenian military setting a barb wire fence in Veliki Obrez on the border with Croatia. | Photo: Twitter

 

The Slovenian military started to set up a barbed wire fence on the border with Croatia on Wednesday, media reports confirmed. The Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar announced the move on Tuesday.

The fence is being built to stop Middle-Eastern refugees from illegally entering the country using informal border crossings and divert the refugees to regular border crossings.

The fence, which will be 1.8 meters high, is being constructed in eastern Slovenia in the vicinity of Veliki Obrez and Rigonce, municipalities close to the border with Croatia.

“We decided that on the border with Croatia we will introduce technical measures for protecting the border and barriers, including a fence. Barriers will guide the refugees to border crossings. The border remains open,” the Slovenian Prime Minister said.

Cerar explained that Slovenia needed to introduce these measures to protect the EU’s Schengen passport-free zone. A large number of refugees is expected to reach Slovenia from Greece in the coming days and Slovenia has to control the refugee wave since the onset of winter will mean new capacities are needed to accommodate them.

He confirmed that he had informed his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic about the move. Cerar added that Milanovic had said he would respect Slovenia's decision and the two countries will continue to cooperate on the refugee issue.

Slovenia will receive as many refugees as Austria in turn can receive from Slovenia. The country deployed its military on the border to better control the refugee wave in October.

Slovenia is about to become a second state in Southeast Europe to set up a fence on its borders to control refugees.

Hungary, also a part of Schengen zone, set up a fence on the border with Serbia on September 15 and did the same on the border with Croatia on October 16.

After the refugee wave diverted from Serbia to Croatia on September 16, Croatia transported the vast majority of refugees to the border with Hungary.

Since Hungary put up the fence on the Croatian border and introduced stricter border controls, it has transported refugees by trains and buses to the border with Slovenia.

In the meantime, on November 2, Croatia set up a new refugee camp in Slavonski Brod in eastern Croatia, which will house up to 5,000 refugees in heated tents during the winter.

Apart from a few cases of refugees entering southern Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina, all refugees enter Croatia from the east from the direction of Serbia.

According to the Croatian Interior Ministry, by September 16, 358,506 had refugees entered the country. From midnight on Tuesday until 9am on Wednesday another 3,039 refugees entered Croatia.

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