Slovenia to tighten border control, fears unmanageable migrant wave

Ljubljana (AFP) - Slovenian government said Monday it would take urgent measures to strengthen control of its Schengen border with Croatia, fearing an expected new wave of migrants would be scarcely manageable.

"The government has prepared additional urgent measures to manage the migrants' flow, including the necessary measures to safeguard the Schengen border," the administration said in a statement issued late Monday.

Earlier in the day Slovenian foreign minister Karl Erjavec said that 20,000-30,000 migrants heading towards western Europe could flock on Slovenia's border -- the passport-free Schengen area's external frontier -- later this week, following the end of a Greek ferry crews' strike that contained the flow for days.

"We estimate Slovenia will rather likely soon have to face a number of migrants that will be hard to manage. Such a situation could lead to extremely severe humanitarian conditions," the government said.

The statement did not explain what "necessary measures" was but private POP TV reported quoting unofficial sources that the government had decided to start building a barbed wire fence on the most vulnerable part of the border, where most of the 167,000 migrants that entered Slovenia over the last month came in.

The TV report added that Slovenia had already acquired enough barbed wire to erect some 120 kilometres (75 miles) of fence to secure part of its 670-kilometres long border with Croatia.

"If necessary, the measures will be implemented in the next few days," the government said.

Earlier on Monday, Interior Minister Vesna Gyorkos Znidar reacted to questions on whether the government would green-light the building of a fence by saying that such a decision "could be taken."

Prime Minister Miro Cerar is expected to announce the decision at a news conference on Tuesday.

Slovenia and its two million population has been struggling to cope since suddenly finding itself last month on the main route for thousands of migrants travelling to northern Europe after Hungary sealed its borders.