The fence which Austria is erecting along its border with Slovenia at Sentilj is designed to regulate the refugee tide and this does not mean that Austria is reintroducing border control within the Schengen Area, Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec told the national parliament’s foreign policy committee on Wednesday.
“Austria is just doing what we are doing on our southern border. It is erecting technical barriers so as to regulate and monitor the inflow of refugees and prevent unpleasant developments,” Erjavec said, adding that the refugee influx would continue in the coming months.
After Opposition lawmakers expressed fear that the building of the fence between Austria and Slovenia would lead to the exclusion of Slovenia from the Schengen Area, the minister recalled that Prime Minister Miro Cerar had ruled out this possibility, explaining that Slovenia is a full member of the Schengen Area.
The Schengen Area, named after the Schengen Agreement, comprises 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their common borders.
“The Austrian authorities have notified us about their plans, we are cooperating and we want to upgrade together security in managing the migrant wave,” Erjavec said.
He believes that Schengen rules that are not adjusted to situations such as a mass-scale migrant influx must be amended.
That is necessary, as the migrant wave will not stop and it may increase next spring, Erjavec said.
The Netherlands’ informal idea about tailoring a mini-Schengen area to include only Austria, Germany and Benelux countries is unacceptable for Slovenia, he added.