Italy praises border checks with Slovenia to curb migration rate

Rome: Since 21 October, when border checks were reinstated along the Italian-Slovenian border, Italian police forces have checked some 270,000 people and 150,000 vehicles on their entering the country to curb irregular migration.

About 2,200 undocumented foreigners were found during the police checks, with over 1,330 sent back across the border. Most of them were Turkish, Moroccan, Syrian, Kosovar, Northern Macedonian, or Afghan nationals.

A total of 118 people were arrested during the border checks, 65 of whom are facing charges of aiding and abetting clandestine immigration.

Italy, Croatia, and Slovenia, however, have announced plans to eliminate border checks by the beginning of the next tourist season this summer, hoping to replace the current border practices with other cooperation models.

The three countries are all part of the EU’s Schengen area, which means that border controls can only be carried out under extraordinary circumstances.

During a meeting on migration issues held in the Slovenian city of Brdo on 21 March, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi praised the level of collaboration with his counterparts in recent moths.

“We live in a complex geopolitical panorama that places us before growing challenges. In this context, our consolidated collaboration on the one hand conveys clear signs of cohesion and constructive willingness and on the other has enabled our three police chiefs to develop strengthened dialogue, and to translate our indications into concrete operational lines,” Piantedosi said in a statement.

Piantedosi also commended his Slovenian and Croatian counterparts, Bostjan Poklukar and Davor Bozinovic for their help, saying the three ministers had developed “operational lines and brought onto the field tools such as strengthening of joint patrols with Slovenians, the activation of trilateral patrols on the Croatian external border, the establishment of a permanent joint Italian-Slovenian committee, and the identification of permanent contact points at the national level for information exchange.”

Croatian Interior Minister Bozinovic meanwhile was quoted by the Croatian news agency Hina as saying that joint police border patrols would be set up in the border areas between the countries in the short term.

He added that since the beginning of the year, the number of migrants that had entered Croatia using irregular means had dropped by 17% compared due to the ongoing measures.