The Slovenian military has begun fencing its border with Croatia as it struggles to manage an influx of refugees. Slovenia became a transit country for migrants after Hungary sealed its southern frontier.
Heavy trucks carrying wire fencing arrived in the Slovenian border village of Veliki Obrez early Wednesday, a day after Slovenia's prime minister said his country would begin erecting barriers to control the flow of refugees.
Nearly 10,000 refugees arrived Tuesday and Wednesday morning, according to Slovenian police statistics. Slovenia has received almost 180,000 refugees since Hungary sealed its southern border with Serbia, re-diverting thousands of refugees taking the Balkan route from Turkey to the European Union.
Slovenia's prime minister said the fencing is designed to force migrants to use official crossings rather than cross unrestricted along its 670-kilometer (416-mile) border with Croatia.
"These obstacles, including fences if needed, will have the objective of directing migrants towards the border crossings. We are not closing our borders," Prime Minister Miro Cerar said Tuesday.
Slovenia finds itself along the Balkan route
The Slovenian government is worried that neighboring Austria - the next country along on the migrant's route to - was planning to restrict the daily number of new arrivals to 6,000, creating a potential backlog in Slovenia.
Austria says it expects a record 95,000 asylum claims this year. But the government has so far not announced that it will limit the number of migrant entries.
About 175 policemen from Germany and other EU member states have come to Slovenia to bolster the local force, with another 100 expected in the next two weeks.
The EU-border protection agency Frontex registered 540,000 arrivals on Greek islands in the first ten months of 2015. The perilous sea journey has been claiming lives on a regular basis.
Virtually all of the migrants landing in Greece plan to travel overland through the Balkans to reach wealthy western European countries such as Germany and Sweden.
Trucks carrying wire fencing arrived in the Slovenian border village of Veliki Obrez after the government said it would start erecting barriers to control the flow of migrants crossing from Croatia.
Slovenia's action along its border comes as European politicians are meeting African leaders in Malta to discuss the Europe's refugee crisis.
The EU's apparent strategy is to offer cash to developing countries in order to secure cooperation to reduce the outflow of tens of thousands fleeing war, strife, crime and poverty.
jar/jil (dpa, AFP, Reuters)