Authorities in Slovenia have started removing the panel fence on the border with Croatia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed through a statement.
The fence was put in place in order to curb the number of migrants who attempted to reach these territories, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The Ministry said that the process was watched by the Minister of Internal Affairs, Boštjan Poklukar, as well as the Minister of Defense, Marjan Šarec, and the Mayor of the Municipality of Osilnica, Alenka Kovač.
The statement of the Ministry notes that the contract for the removal of the fence on the common border with Croatia was signed in April this year, while works on this field have recently started.
Slovenia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, while welcoming the recent changes, said that the country is fulfilling the promise of Prime Minister Robert Golob that the fence on the southern border will be lifted while adding that this is also a coalition commitment of all three coalition parties.
Minister Poklukar said that the decision to keep in place the panel fence has also affected the municipalities along the border, adding that their tourism was also threatened.
“Municipalities along the border were affected in some way by this; their tourism was also threatened, in this way the accessibility to the river Kolpa, which is a border river here and of extraordinary tourist importance,” Minister Poklukar said.
He added that by lifting the fence, Kolpa is being put back into use for people, tourists and everyone who has been cut off for nearly eight years by the fence. The abolishment fence will be used for the needs of the defence and security authorities of Slovenia.
The Minister emphasized that the country’s police are replacing the lifting of the fence with an adapted way of working, greater use of technical means, as well as strengthening international cooperation.
Poklukar emphasized that the country’s police continue to control illegal migration.
“The tactics have changed a bit, as they were until the new year when we protected the external Schengen border,” he added.
The Minister expressed his hopes that authorities in Croatia will also protect the external Schengen border in the same way as Slovenia while highlighting the importance of the intensive cooperation of all the police on the Western Balkan route.
He also announced a meeting in June with the Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with whom they also discussed the possibilities of strengthening cooperation and even more effective prevention of illegal migration.