Army on Croatian border after consultations with opposition, says Slovenian minister

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26.03.2020.

Members of Medical Unit of Slovenian Army measure body temperature prior entering the facilities for treatment of coronavirus patients set at the Edvard Peperko Army Barracks in Ljubljana on March 17, 2020, as many countries around the world go into lockdown in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel virus COVID-19. (Photo by Jure Makovec / AFP)
Jure Makovec / AFP

Members of Medical Unit of Slovenian Army measure body temperature prior entering the facilities for treatment of coronavirus patients

Slovenia's Interior Minister Ales Hojs on Wednesday stated that deploying Slovenia's army on the border with Croatia is essential because of illegal migration and because the police have additional duties during the current epidemiological crisis.

Activating our army to guard our southern border will be essential in the current situation with the spread of coronavirus, Hojs told a press conference in Ljubljana.

The activation of the relevant law that would give the army certain police powers and the possibility of protecting the border requires the support of two-thirds of the legislature. That is why Hojs said that he would meet with opposition caucuses over the next few days in an effort to convince them that the procedure is essential.

He said that the motion to activate the army for tasks on the border has the support of President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Jana's cabinet, so he believes that the bill will be passed with the necessary parliamentary majority, giving the army powers for a period of three months, i.e. for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

Hojs said that deploying the army in the current situation is essential because of increased migration and the scope of work the police are involved with within the country related to the spread of COVID-19.

"We do not have any infected migrants in Slovenia yet but the number of illegal migrants caught in Slovenia at the start of the year was 70% higher than last year. There are six thousand migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We do not know where they are located nor whether they are infected with coronavirus. That is why the protection of our border to the south is currently one of the government's priorities," Hojs said and added that while the coronavirus epidemic lasts, the government's main task is to protect Slovenia's citizens.

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