Croatian, Slovenian interior ministers: Border fence removal sign of friendship

NEWS 29.08.202215:52

Interior ministers Davor Bozinovic of Croatia and Tatjana Bobnar of Slovenia said on Monday the removal of razor-wire fences from the Croatian-Slovenian border was "a symbol of the two countries' friendship and good cooperation."

Slovenia started erecting the fence on the Croatian border during the 2015 migrant crisis. Early in July this year, its government decided to start removing it. At her first meeting with Bozinovic, Bobnar said the razor-wire fence was a disproportionate tool and that its removal was “a symbol of the friendship and good cooperation between the states.”

“The symbolism of removing the razor wire benefits first and foremost the people along the border, who are closely connected,” Bozinovic told reporters after their meeting near the Bregana-Obrezje border crossing. Bobnar said a “concerning” increase in attempts to illegally cross the border had been recorded this year.

The novelty are nationals of India, Burundi, and Cuba who arrive illegally in one of the Balkan states and then attempt to illegally enter the EU.

“That’s something we’ll deal with in the period ahead at the European Commission level,” said Bozinovic. “Most, if not all, security challenges nowadays are cross-border ones. We can’t deal with transnational and cross-border challenges each within our own borders.” The two ministers said they had agreed on the signing of a police cooperation agreement that would lead to the removal of administrative procedures to facilitate police cooperation.

Bobnar reiterated that she supports Croatia’s Schengen Area entry and that it is in Slovenia’s interest. Bozinovic said that upon Croatia’s Schengen entry, expected at the start of next year, the two countries would be able to act jointly before the Schengen Council. “Our challenges in that sense are similar.”

He recalled that when Croatia joined Schengen, 1,000 police officers would be deployed at spots used by illegal migrants, either deeper inland or at the borders with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.