Italy Prolongs Border Controls with Slovenia Until June 18

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Border controls between Italy and Slovenia will be kept in place until June 18 this year, after Italyโ€™s Interior Ministry announced that it has decided to further extend such a measure amid concerns about the potential presence of terrorists hiding among migrants in transit on the EUโ€™s Balkan migratory route.

The new changes come in spite of both countriesโ€™ commitments to restore free border movement โ€œas soon as conditions allow,โ€ as emphasised in November by the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Due to the Israel-Hamas war, Italy informed the EU Commission for the first time on October 21, 2023, about the reintroduction of internal border controls with its neighbouring country, Slovenia.

Raise of the threat of violence within the EU following the attack on Israel, risk of possible terrorist infiltration, constant migratory pressure by sea and by land, increase in the Central Mediterranean migratory flow; land border with Slovenia.

Italy

Such a measure was set to remain effective until October 30, 2023; however, since then, Rome has notified the European Commission five times regarding border checks extension.

The recent decision will become effective from January 19, 2024, and will remain valid until June 18, this year.

Threats to public order and internal security in the EU were the reasons that led Slovenia to take measures similar to those of Italy on the same day, October 21, 2023, towards its neighbouring countries, Croatia and Hungary.

Threats to public order and internal security in the EU, the situation in the Middle East and in Ukraine, recent terrorist attacks in some Member States, increased security risks due to organised crime in the Western Balkans and violent extremism, risk of infiltration in mixed migration flows; internal borders with the Republic of Croatia and Hungary.

Slovenia

The decision that was set to remain effective until October 30 has been extended several times. Since the first time, Slovenia notified the EU Commission an additional four times regarding the same measure. Recently, authorities in this country announced that border controls with Croatia and Hungary would be kept in place until June 21, 2024.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, revealed that irregular border crossings last year reached 2016 levels, with a total of 380,000 detections made in the EUโ€™s main migratory routes.

Frontex figures revealed that the number of irregular border crossings through the Western Balkan route accounted for about 26 per cent of the total.

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