It happened. Slovenia, one of the smallest countries in European Union decided to follow its Hungarian neighbour: as government sent military troops to its Southern border with Croatia to build a fence. Why a fence? Its task is to prevent refugees who are on the rush to escape winter to enter Slovenia. Not that they are going to stay in Slovenia; as we have seen refugees are on their way to Nordic countries, passing Slovenia on the way.
In news conference the Prime minister of Slovenia Miro Cerar announced that fence will be build on its border with Croatia in order “to protect security of our citizens and immigrants, and to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe”. Cerar tried to avoid the unpopular term “wire fence” and replace it with a soft version: “technical obstacles”.
At the moment of writing this report there are over 10000 refugees in Greece who want to leave and continue their way towards North Balkans. Slovenia was an exception, the only country which for last few months allow them to past its territory relatively freely. Not anymore.
In Greece most of them are camping on the Aegean islands, Piraeus port, Athens and Idomeni. For months I am covering their plight on controversial Victoria Square in center of Athens.
“You are from Slovenia? That’s great! We heard we will not have problems to cross the country, right?” they usually ask me. I give them fresh informations on what might happen on their trip to reach their destination.
Until today I was more are less positive. Now I plan to postpone my visit. I am
How am I supposed to look in the eyes of 22 year old Khalil who escaped from terror of Syrian war and is traveling with his 17 year old handicapped sister? After living for three years in over-crowded Turkish refugee camps, he sold his kidney so that he could pay for this trip.
How do I tell him that Slovenian government from today on simple decided to put the razor obstacles on his way for a (probably) better future?
The refugee stories are stories of never ending bitter war, stories of lost family
members, and destroyed dreams. No one wants to leave his country unless they are forced to. It is a natural phenomenon.
Unfortunately, Slovenia is now one of the last countries erecting borders in a borderless union, one of the countries which will not welcome refugees with hot meals, warm blankets and open smile, but instead leave them to wait behind the prosaically termed “technical obstacles with razors”.
“It’s The Day the EU died,” as one of my journalist friend said yesterday.