Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said on Thursday that the border between Croatia and Slovenia had not been determined yet and that that was yet to be done by an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, dismissing as “naive” Croatia’s claims that Slovenia should move parts of the fence it was putting along the border with Croatia to manage the influx of migrants because they were on Croatian territory.
“Slovenia is putting up technical barriers on its territory, the border has not been defined yet and we do not know how it runs, that will be known when the arbitral tribunal makes a ruling,” Erjavec said in an interview with Slovenian Television.
Erjavec said that Croatia was interpreting the course of the border “as it suits it”, asking Slovenia that the border be determined in line with the borders of cadastral municipalities, whereas in the case of its border with Serbia it wanted it to run along the middle of the Danube River, which Slovenia could not accept.
If barriers are set up to direct the migrant flow at Hotiza and Sveti Martin Na Muri, they will be set up along the River Mura and not along the border of cadastral municipalities, Erjavec said, adding that he did not believe incidents would happen and that Slovenia did not want them.
Special Slovenian police units and helicopters will be on duty throughout the night at the disputed part of the border at Harmica just in case, said Erjavec.
In the latest border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, prompted by the migrant crisis, Croatia sent Slovenia a protest note on Thursday, asking that the barbed wire fence Slovenia was putting up be removed from Croatian territory in the area of the Sutla River, near the border crossing of Harmica, and in the area of the Bregancica River, near the border crossing of Bregana Naselje. Slovenia claims that the fence is on its territory and that it will not be removed.
“The fence will be put in the places which we consider the most suitable to prevent possible dispersion of migrants on the green border, but we will take care not to enter the territory that is indisputably Croatian,” Erjavec told Slovenian Television.
Asked if Slovenia had started putting up the fence in coordination with Germany and Austria or even on their orders, Erjavec said that Slovenia had made the decision on its own but that it would be better if the Schengen area of passport-free travel was defended together rather than individually as it could cause a chain reaction, with countries setting up barriers along internal borders of the Schengen area.