Looking at a FRA summary table of fences around the EU...

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I couldn't help but notice that EU-member Slovenia seems to have built a fence with EU-member Croatia, after the accession date of Croatia (2013); the fence was built between 2015-2020 according to FRA.

So, unless there's some kind of reporting mistake here, how did/does Slovenia justify building a sizeable fence with another EU member? (According to FRA, a further 40km extension of the same fence is envisaged.)

(Now that I think of it, I recall that Slovenian PM Janša congratulated Trump on his 2020 election "victory", so that may be of some indication as to Slovenian's government policies in other areas, but I don't want to preempt a real answer with this observation.)

  • 2
    Not sure if this is relevant. I don't know the answer to your question, but Croatia is not part of Schengen. Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 19:51
  • 2
    @GrzegorzOledzki it is surely relevant to some degree. Is Slovenia building a fence on the border with Hungary? I suppose not. Although Croatia is a part of the EU, the Slovenian-Croatian border is an "external" border of the Schengen area, subject at all times to systematic controls, unlike Slovenia's other borders. But since I don't know the actual justifications given by Slovenian politicians, the only answer I could post would be speculation.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 20:01
  • James K: there's no need to delete your answer; I was just offering a bit of fact checking on a couple of secondary points. The main thrust of your answer was correct; a couple of small edits would fix it.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 15, 2021 at 22:31

1 Answer 1


Well, so when the first form of the fence went up, the Slovenian government claimed it was not intended to stop migrants, but only to direct them to the official entry points:

“The barriers do not have the purpose of preventing arrivals to Slovenia or significantly reducing them... Their purpose is to direct the flow of migrants to controlled entrance points,” Bostjan Sefic, state secretary at the Slovenian Interior Ministry, told a news conference. [...]

Slovenia’s boundary with Croatia will remain open, Cerar said, but the fence will prevent migrants entering the country at uncontrolled points along the frontier.

Croatians on their side of the border were doubtful.

By 2016, the justification [for continued construction] was a bit more straightforward:

an additional 40 km of fencing was constructed at the southern border along the Kolpa River. "Illegal border crossings must be prevented," the interior ministry said in a statement.

Also, in March 2016, Slovenia closed its border, prompting what was called a "domino effect" in neighboring countries, e.g. Croatia declared it would only admit people with valid visas thereafter. (Human rights organizations have since accused Slovenia of "massive and systemic denials of asylum rights and collective expulsion to Croatia", like 26,000 alleged "push-backs". Croatia was accused of pretty much the same.)

As another 40-km section of the fence was completed in 2019, Reuters reported "a jump of 56% compared to the same period of 2018" in illegal migrants entering Slovenia. (I'm guessing this was part of the official reasoning for continuing the works, although that's not made explicit.) In this story, Reuters actually said the fence was now 219-km long, more than FRA reported a year later. Also, the fence is still only covering a third of the Slovenia-Croatia land border, according to Reuters. Interestingly, the fence was again being described as temporary by Slovenian government:

“The fence will be erected temporarily in the areas where it is necessary to prevent illegal crossings of the state border and ensure the safety of people and their property,” said Irena Likar, a spokeswoman of the Interior Ministry.

  • "a bit more straightforward": those two statements do not contradict each other.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 17, 2021 at 13:55

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