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Šefic: Austria denies entry to a few migrants arriving from Slovenia

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“The situation in Slovenia is normal, stable and there is nothing unusual,” State Secretary Boštjan Šefic, who coordinates the refugee issue in Slovenia, said at a press conference today. Since mid- February up to 800 migrants a day have arrived, and sometimes there are none. Slovenia will continue to implement the Schengen rules strictly. In this respect, Šefic said that Slovenia was aware that the number of people arriving in Greece from Turkey is still high, between 2500 and 3000 migrants a day, which has put Greece under quite a strain, and the situation on the border between Macedonia and Greece is still very sensitive due to the high number of migrants waiting to cross. Therefore, Slovenia is still working for a common European solution.

Therefore, the directors of police forces of countries along the Balkan migration route met again yesterday. The meeting did not produce new agreements, but confirmed what was agreed at the meeting in Zagreb. Unfortunately, despite the invitations from the organiser, the meeting was not attended by representatives of Germany, Greece, Albania and Bulgaria, with the only new participant being a representative of the European Commission. With regard to the previous meeting and the published number of 580 migrants, which is being cited by the media, Šefic explained that this is not a daily quota, but the total agreed number of persons on a single train from Croatia that the Slovenian police can check daily in accordance with the Schengen rules.

Austria occasionally denies entry to some migrants that Slovenia has allowed to proceed. The numbers of those denied entry are not high, and the reason is usually that people provide different information to the Austrian and the Slovenian authorities. We try to coordinate promptly with Austria about how to proceed, so that such instances are as few as possible, said the State Secretary.

Today (2 March 2016), there are 231 migrants in Slovenia who have been denied entry by Austria and 326 asylum seekers. The latter include 32 unaccompanied minors. All those who have been denied entry or who entered Slovenia illegally are housed in the Aliens Centre where they wait for procedures to be completed. Because stricter rules apply to accommodation in the Aliens’ Centre, the police try to make the situation easier for members of vulnerable groups (families, women, minors) by putting them in accommodation centres.

Even along the so-called green border, which is also being protected by the Slovenian Armed Forces in accordance with police instructions, there is nothing unusual. For the time being, members of the Slovenian Armed Forces are patrolling the border alongside the police. Up to 200 members of the SAF are currently deployed in such tasks. The SAF has not yet needed to exercise the powers granted to it on the basis of Article 37a of the Defence Act, said Šefic.