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Saturday, October 8, 2022

State Secretary Lobnikar defends the removal of the border fence. Do the mayors really agree with this?

By: Tanja Brkić / Nova24TV

The State Secretary from the Ministry of the Interior has positions shockingly aligned with the Peace Institute, and given his baseless claims, he has apparently also become an expert on border fences, especially the one in Hungary. And while the government guarantees on its website that “Slovenian police will continue to provide a high level of security to all citizens and people located on the territory of the country”, this is more than clearly impossible, given the many incidents at the border, among others also the kidnapping of an 80-year-old man, the burning of a tent, the throwing of stones at a fire engine and even the murder of a young policeman. On top of all that, the majority of border mayors are said to agree with the policy of “integration and acceptance” of illegal migrants, whom the Ministry of Interior equates with regular ones, which is extremely hard to believe.

“Fences on the border do not stop migration, but make it much more dangerous, even for local residents. The proof is the Hungarian fence…” and “removing the razor wire from the southern border is the duty of a decent society, supported by both public opinion and the opinions of the mayors on the southern border”, were the notes of the State Secretary Branko Lobnikar on Twitter, who obviously talked about the ineffectiveness of the Hungarian fence at a guess and even claimed that the border mayors agree with the removal of the fence on our borders. But are the mayors, whose local communities are most exposed to the violence of illegal migrants, in favour of removing the fence? For example, the mayor of Ilirska Bistrica?!

Europe, which was once home to one of the most infamous walls in the world, has in recent years become a leader in building them. Not only in Slovenia, but there are also border fences and walls in 10 European countries, and together they measure more than six times more than the Berlin Wall, it was written in one of the reports of the Transnational Institute (TNI) based in Amsterdam. Most of these structures were erected for security reasons, to secure territorial sovereignty and to prevent the entry of those who want to cross the border illegally and violently, which we have also witnessed since 2015, the year of mass migration. And despite the fact that all countries put up a fence precisely to ensure the safety of their country and citizens, the new government obviously wants the opposite, because by removing the fence, they are literally “offering Slovenia on a platter”, not to mention their absurd statements such as “borders do not work, and migration is a constant and a part of reality”. When Austria built a fence with Slovenia in response to the crisis in 2015, even the then interior minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said that “the fence is not a bad thing. Whoever owns a house has a garden and a fence that helps regulate who enters and who does not”.

The rhetoric suits the government’s goal – the destruction of Slovenia

However, the removal of the fence is definitely the goal of the new government, so it is a fact that government workers will adjust their stories and rhetoric accordingly. However, they could have armed themselves a little better with arguments for their claims, because it is senseless to just claim that the fence on the Hungarian border is ineffective. The truth is that the number of illegal entries into Hungary dropped significantly after the barrier was completed, as it effectively eliminated entry into Hungary. Hungarian authorities prevented more than 54,000 people from illegally crossing the border and prosecuted more than 500 smugglers last year, Chief Security Adviser György Bakondi told foreign media at the time.

As his statement about ineffectiveness is groundless, the claim that they have the support of the mayors on the southern border to remove the fence is probably groundless as well. Really? At the same time, the question arises whether the mayor of Ilirska Bistrica, Emil Rojc, also really agrees with this, who in the past years has repeatedly emphasised the dangers of illegal migrants in the local community, from the fact that they leave a mess behind, to the other threats they pose locals. Let us remind you that the problem of illegal migration in Slovenia did not start today but has been going on for several years. It was already strongly present during Šarec’s government, which, even then, did too little to protect local residents.

Even then, Rojc made it clear what his position was on illegal migrants when he said: “For me, as mayor, it is unacceptable that such a large number of migrants are uncontrolled for several days nearby villages, which are several times smaller than the number of migrants camping in the forest. This is very questionable from a security point of view.” Maja Kocjan, a representative of the Civil Initiative Bela krajina, agreed with him, saying that “locals are more and more afraid, especially in the border villages, where they meet migrants every day. In any case, Šarec’s government did not do enough to protect our residents of the border municipalities. It would be necessary to take measures that would actually be sufficient to make the inhabitants feel safe”.

In view of the latter, it is extremely difficult to believe anything that Lobnikar stated, since the main goal of both the border fence and the mayors of local communities is to protect their territory and its inhabitants, and not to accept and integrate illegal and violent migrants into our society. Before you save the world, take care of your home first.

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