By: dr Vinko Gorenak
First, let’s focus on one of the major achievements of the Golob coalition. They introduced border controls on the border with Croatia and Hungary. Let’s take a closer look at the decision of the Golob coalition regarding this matter.
In the Golob coalition, they made it clear from the beginning that Slovenia would be friendly to illegal migrants, and this message certainly reached them. The consequences are clear. In the year 2000, Slovenia recorded 35,000 illegal migrants, which was the highest number up to that point, excluding 2015 when there was actually organised state transportation of illegal migrants from Croatia to the Austrian border. This year, we have surpassed the number of 35,000 in just eight months. This is indeed a significant achievement of the Golob coalition. However, be aware that Golob coalition is now establishing controls at border crossings, but there is no information that they have increased control on the green border.
The argument that they are implementing border controls due to an increased level of threat to Slovenia does not convince me. It is true that it serves as a convenient excuse given the situation Slovenia found itself in with the closed borders to Austria and Italy. We cannot deny that Slovenia’s level of threat increased due to the Hamas attack on Israel and the retaliatory measures. At the same time, it is clear that controls at border crossings will not reduce the threat to Slovenia in any way. In the Golob coalition, they should have increased control on the green border with Croatia a long time ago, especially after Croatia’s entry into the Schengen Area when it became evident that the country poorly secures the external Schengen border.
The measure of reintroducing border controls with Croatia (I do not know why they introduced it with Hungary, as there is no data on illegal migrants coming from Hungary) is unacceptable. It will primarily affect the residents of Slovenia and Croatia, as well as Hungary, who cross the border every day. It will slow down traffic and create long lines. Illegal migrants will simply move back to where they have been and know the routes, which is the green border. This is an achievement of the Golob coalition that could be detrimental to our security.
When we talk about potential terrorists, it is a different question. They will come to Slovenia and Europe illegally without documents, mingling among other illegal migrants, or they may come legally with forged documents. Somewhere, I read (apologies to the author for not remembering who it was) that a potential terrorist will not come to us in a car, sitting in the front passenger seat with a distinctive checkered headscarf and a rifle in hand.
So, the key question is when Slovenia will secure its green border with Croatia. I have heard nothing about an additional number of police officers guarding this border, and I have especially heard nothing about the activation of Article 37a of the Defence Act, which allows the use of the military for securing the green border. Let’s not forget that when Slovenia joined the EU and the Schengen Area, it employed over 3,000 additional police officers to secure the Schengen border. After Croatia joined Schengen, no one lost their job; they were reassigned within the country. Therefore, in addition to the military, most of them could be deployed to guard the green border with Croatia.
Another thing is clear. Securing the external Schengen borders has become more or less a bedtime story. The system has broken down and no longer functions. It seems that the processing of asylum seekers or international protection seekers has also stopped working. A typical example is the attacker in Brussels who killed two Swedes. Between 2012 and 2014, he was serving a prison sentence in Sweden. In Belgium, in 2020, it was decided that he would not be granted asylum or international protection and that he had to leave the EU. But he did not. Why? Because no one apprehended and expelled him from Belgium.
Finally, there is one more anomaly in the system, which I will explain using the example of Slovenia, although it is no different elsewhere. Every weekend, police officers on the southern border detain several buses full of illegal migrants. They load them onto buses and take them to the Asylum Centre in Ljubljana. There, they are provided with food and new clothes, then they leave the Asylum Centre and use buses or trains to travel to the border with Austria or Italy, and of course, they illegally cross it. This system is in place from the moment they enter the first EU country until they reach their desired destination.
What about EU regulations that nobody respects? EU regulations dictate that the EU member state where an illegal migrant first enters should decide whether they will receive asylum or international protection. If they receive it, they are allowed to move freely within the EU; if not, that country should return them to their country of origin. In today’s world, even this is just a bedtime story, not the reality of the EU. To be continued.