Following a “significant deterioration in security in the Middle East,” terrorist threats, and violent conflicts in Africa, Slovenia has decided to extend police checks on the border with Croatia and Hungary until June 22, 2024. Euractiv reports this.
The country first introduced temporary checks on October 21 in accordance with Article 28 of the Schengen Borders Code, which can last a maximum of two months.
Now it has applied Article 25 of the code, which allows police checks for six months. Until then, the Slovenian authorities will monitor the situation. Any further extension will depend on how the security situation develops in Slovenia and the region as a whole.
The government said that the level of terrorist risk in Slovenia and other European countries remains high, and the threat to one member of the Schengen area poses a threat to all its members. Law enforcement agencies in several countries have arrested several third-country nationals during anti-terrorist raids, and migration flows pose a “security risk in this context.”
Slovenia does not currently screen all passengers, and this system will remain in place, with targeted checks “focused on preventing terrorism, extremism, and cross-border crime.”
In Croatia, there is concern that the checks could cause massive delays at the border as hundreds of thousands of emigrants from across the Balkans travel home for the holidays and then back, but Slovenia and Croatia have agreed that checks will be “flexible” during the holidays to avoid long waits.
“We have agreed that the regime will be as flexible as possible during the Christmas and New Year holidays to avoid crowds at border crossings. We expect a huge influx of our people who live and work in Western Europe and those who will cross Croatia,” said Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković after discussing the issue with Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob on the sidelines of the EU summit last week.
Earlier reports indicated that Germany plans to extend the stationary checks on its borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland, which Germany initially implemented in mid-October, until at least March 15 next year.
Earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is seeking to reduce the number of asylum seekers and stop the rise of the far-right, agreed on a tougher migration policy and new funding for refugees with the heads of 16 German states.