Will migrant situation trigger joint patrols at Italy-Slovenia border?

Will migrant situation trigger joint patrols at Italy-Slovenia border?

The number of migrants arriving in Slovenia has almost quadrupled since Croatia became part of the Schengen area on 1 January. Illegal migrants make regular attempts to cross the border in a variety of ways. Some hide in concrete mixers, while others try to cram themselves under car hoods, exposing themselves to scorching heat.


Slovenia and Italy are under siege by migrants

In the first two months of the year, authorities in Ljubljana arrested 5 162 migrants, compared to 1 295 a year earlier. According to official figures released by police, most of those arriving from Croatia were Afghan, Moroccan, Russian, Cuban, Indian and Pakistani nationals.

The numbers above signal a huge spike, triggering fears in Ljubljana that Italy may go as far as introduce border checks along its joint border section with Slovenia, according to Slovenian media reports. In order to alleviate the pressure caused by illegal migration, Slovenian, Croatian and Italian police will embark on joint patrols to control migrants until they reach their destination in Italy. This is something Slovenia’s prime minister also underlined the other day, after he held talks with his Croatian counterpart.

Croatia does not want a border fence

Croats are known to have have employed the method of in-depth checks before, instead of just searching for migrants in the vicinity of the border. Soon they will be joined by Italian and Slovenian officers.

And the numbers do suggest that these extra officers are needed. According to local press reports, the number of asylum seekers in the first three months of the year grew by 800 per cent, compared to the same period last year. An article published by the Vecernji List newspaper underlines that this increase was expected, because the Adriatic country became a Schengen zone member on 1 January, allowing migrants to apply for protection in Croatia.

Criminals are also taking advantage of the spike in the number of migrants. Since January, authorities in Croatian have detained almost 200 people smugglers, up 29.7 per cent from the same period of the previous year.

Migrants will hide under car hoods

Migrants using the Balkan route are constantly arriving at the borders of Europe. Starting from Turkey, they reach Hungary and Croatia through Greece, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Serbia. They are helped by people smugglers, who use numerous methods to try and get them into the EU. For instance they will hide them in refrigerated vans, car trunks or concrete mixers or in the cargo spaces of trucks. In fact, at the end of March, Serb customs officials discovered a woman crammed under a car hood. She wanted to escape from Bulgaria, which is an EU country, into Serbia.

A customs official told Radio Free Europe that this type of illegal border crossing is life-threatening. The engine is scorching hot and there’s hardly any room, so one can only stay there for a short amount time, possibly just a few minutes. Serb officers recently found 9 migrants in the cargo hold of a large truck headed from Greece to Poland at the Macedonia-Serbia border.

However, as V4NA has highlighted in an earlier article, some illegals decide to hide out in the woods, in an attempt to remain invisible to the authorities.

Data compiled by the Serb police suggests that people smugglers charge between 1000 and 6000 euros to transport the migrants through the Balkan country and to help them cross one of the borders.



balkan, border, croatia, italy, migrant, serbia, slovenia