Slovenian PM says amended defence law to be applied as of Wednesday

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Amendments to Slovenia’s defence law that would enable sending army troops to help police protect the border has sufficient support and the law could be adopted by parliament today and come into force as of tomorrow, Slovenia’s Prime Minister Miro Cerar said on Tuesday after meeting with the leaders of political parties in that country.

“In that case the government could make a proposal to parliament tomorrow that measures proposed by the amended law be implemented and the army could immediately start executing the tasks set,” Cerar told reporters after the meeting.

According to the premier, that means that the army would help police at the border in handling migrants and Slovenia would adapt its actions according to the situation in the field.

The law requires a two-third majority which has been secured in agreement with Cerar and the opposition.

The police will temporarily and in a limited scope be granted with additional tasks in securing the border against the migrant wave as required in such a situation, Cerar said without specifying any details.

During an extraordinary government session overnight, Slovenia determined that a large number of migrants were illegally crossing the green border and Slovenia has asked for solidarity from EU member states in handling the “migrant burden”, adding that it did not have the capacity for the reception of migrants or to retain them on its territory.

Media outlets have reported that the amended law would remain in force for at least three months. Last week the Slovenian government announced possible additional engagement of the army on its 670 kilometre border with Croatia if migrants were to start illegally entering the country. In addition to logistic support which it is already implementing, the army would participate in combined border supervision without having police authority to arrest anyone or to use arms and would not be allowed to come within 50 metres of the border.

Ahead of the government meeting today Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said that he did not exclude the possibility of executing stricter control of the border with Croatia and mentioned the possibility of erecting a “protective fence” on the border if the refugee situation were to escalate.

(Hina)

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