Due to the coronavirus crisis and its economic consequences in areas from which illegal immigrants are coming, there will be an increase in attempts to enter Slovenia illegally, Pahor said during a visit to a combined military and police unit at the border with Croatia.
The president said that this was the reason why he supported the government's proposal to activate Article 37 of the Defence Act, adopted during the great migration crisis of 2015/2016. The law enables parliament to delegate police powers to the army if at least two-thirds of present members of parliament vote for such a proposal.
"We should not wait to do it on the last day, when it is completely obvious that sending the army to our southern border is inevitable," Pahor told reporters covering his visit to the army and police unit stationed in the village of Breg pri Sinjem Vrhu. He was accompanied by Interior Minister Ales Hojs and Defence Minister Matej Tonin.
That part of the Slovenian border, which is also the Schengen border, is being guarded from potential illegal immigrants by around 800 police officers and 150 army personnel. The army for now does not have police powers to take in and question migrants.
The new Slovenian government would like to involve more soldiers with police powers at the border where the majority of immigrants are coming on their way from Bosnia through Croatia, so that more police officers could be reassigned to the centre of the country to provide controls in the time of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Left-wing opposition parties are against the proposal for now, arguing that the police were containing the migrant flow properly, as well as expressing fear that the army could use police powers against Slovenian citizens as well, which the government denied as an absurd concern.