Border controls on the Austrian-Slovenian border must be maintained in view of the significant migration pressure from Slovenia.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Negammer said this on Tuesday in Vienna to his Slovenian counterpart Robert Golob, Euractiv reports.
Golob visited Vienna for the first time since taking office a year ago and met with his Austrian counterpart Karl Negammer to discuss several issues, including Austria's decision in May to extend border controls on the Slovenian border, a decision that caused strong indignation in Slovenia and the European Commission threatened Austria with a lawsuit.
However, at the meeting, Neghammer reiterated the need for stronger border controls on the Slovenian border, citing the fact that Austria has registered 18,000 asylum applications this year and pointing to the general shortcomings of the Schengen system, drawing attention to the large number of migrants who remain unregistered in other EU countries.
Nevertheless, Negammer hinted that the issue of border control with Slovenia could be discussed in the fall.
"If we manage to reduce the pressure, we can talk about it," he said, referring to the fact that Schengen members may decide to extend border checks in six months.
On the eve of Holob's visit, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior published migration data from Slovenia showing a sharp increase in the number of illegal border crossings: by June, Slovenian authorities had detained 16,131 people who had crossed the border illegally, compared to 4,598 a year earlier.
Golob responded to this with a rhetorical question: should Slovenia introduce controls on the return of Austrian tourists during the holiday season?
"We don't want to hit our own population or our neighbors with measures that are not effective," Golob said at the meeting in Vienna, adding that the significant number of detentions in Slovenia shows that alternative measures have proven to be more effective in combating illegal migration.
To better control migration flows, Golob noted a new joint initiative by Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia to better manage migration flows across the territory, similar to the control approach taken by Denmark and Germany on their common border - where the number of border checks is now based on police assessments of where they are most needed.
"Slovenia does not want to cancel Schengen. We want to be an example that migrants can be treated differently," Golob emphasized.
Neghammer supported Golob's proposal, saying that he would authorize Interior Minister Gerhard Karner to strengthen cooperation with Slovenia.
Author - Olena Madiak, 14/06/2023