Slovenia to Build "Obstacles" Against Migrants on Border with Croatia
EU member Slovenia plans to build "obstacles" on its border with Croatia in advance of an expected new spike in migrants bound for northern Europe this week.
But Prime Minister Miro Cerar, whose country last month found itself on the main Balkans route for thousands of migrants after Hungary sealed its southern borders, insisted that its frontier would remain open.
"We decided yesterday to start building over the following days on the Schengen border with Croatia some temporary technical obstacles," Cerar said Tuesday in the capital, Ljubljana.
"These obstacles, including fences if needed, will have the objective of directing migrants towards the border crossings. We are not closing our borders," he said.
EU: Asylum Processing Slowed to Near Standstill
The European Union says its asylum processing is so clogged with foreign migrants seeking refuge that it would take a year to process all pending applications if the migrant influx stopped immediately.
That analysis from the Malta-based European Asylum Support Office came Tuesday, as thousands of migrants - many of them from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan - continued arriving daily on Greek islands before pushing westward through the Balkans to western Europe. Italy has also been inundated in the past year with migrants, mostly from Africa and Asia.
The EASO released data showing a backlog of 800,000 applications for international protection through September.
It also said almost one in three migrants has been waiting at least three months for applications to be processed, and said 200,000 applicants have been waiting six months or longer.
Ahead of a two-day EU summit in Malta with African heads of state, the EASO also said it had received fewer than half the workers requested from EU countries to process asylum applications.
It said it had asked for more than 370 workers, but that only 177 asylum experts had so far been provided, slowing the process so much that only 147 migrants have been officially relocated in Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, France and Spain since a EU relocation plan was approved last month.