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Slovenia Weekly

Difficult decisions



Photo: Mostphotos
It has been 25 years since the decision was made to hold a plebiscite on Slovenia's independence. This was one in a series of difficult decisions that led to an independent country. “We began to take major political decisions that still mark the character of our country in every aspect," said the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor. On the journey that we have taken since the landmark events in 1990, we have achieved the mature confidence needed to face the most extraordinary situations, one of which is the current wave of migration.

Since mid-October, almost 200,000 refugees and migrants have entered Slovenia, which is equivalent to almost 10 per cent of the country’s population. Less than a hundred have requested international protection here. While this means that people are arriving en masse on its border, Slovenia is doing its best to protect the Schengen border, which also helps maintain security in other EU member states.

While expecting new mass arrivals of refugees and migrants on the Slovenian border and without effective and prompt action at European level, the Slovenian government took the difficult decision this week to set up physical barriers on some stretches of the border with Croatia.

“Personally, I find it very difficult to make such a decision, but as prime minister I have the responsibility to prevent a humanitarian disaster on the territory of Slovenia,” said Cerar when announcing the decision at a press conference. He stressed that Slovenia’s borders remain open, and that Slovenia is still accepting and will provide care for refugees and migrants who enter the country. By putting up physical barriers, the country only wishes to prevent the dispersal of migrants over a wider area and direct them to organised points of entry, where they can receive humanitarian care.

Physical barriers on the border between Slovenian and Croatian villages where people live in harmony and friendship arouse mixed feelings: both among the local people and abroad, where people see everything from afar. One commentator in the Slovenian media thinks that the idea of Europe is powerlessly falling apart. The words of the German Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, also ring true: if the EU had a solution, Slovenia would not face such difficult decisions.

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Every friday the Slovenian Weekly Newsletter brings you the latest updates on the work of the Slovenian Government.