Slovenia to OK border troops, slams Croatia's lack of refugee 'controls'

Around 8,000 people crossed into Slovenian territory on Monday from Croatia, only 2,000 of them passed into Austria

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Slovenia's parliament is expected to approve changes to its laws on Tuesday allowing for the deployment of troops to its southern border in a bid to prevent the progress of thousands of migrants heading into the country from Croatia after Hungary sealed off its border.

The government in Ljubljana had proposed amendments to its Law on Defense overnight, after 8,000 migrants crossed into Slovenian territory on Monday. Only 2,000 of them passed into Austria.

“The influx of migrants over the last three days has exceeded all manageable possibilities,” a government statement said on Tuesday, adding that parliament would be asked to approve legislation allowing soldiers to help in the crisis “under very specific circumstances.” The government also slammed neighboring Croatia for sending thousands of refugees to its border “without control.”

Under current law, the army can only provide technical and logistical support to the policing of its borders.

The government has not given details of the proposed changes to the law, but issued a statement stressing Slovenia's lack of capacity to deal with the current situation and calling on fellow EU countries to help.

“Slovenia is the smallest country on the Balkan migration route and has therefore limited possibilities of border control and accommodating migrants,” the government said.

“Therefore Slovenia publicly calls upon the [EU] member states and the European institutions to actively engage in taking over this burden.”

Slovenian authorities said on Monday they had refused to let in more than 1,000 refugees arriving from Croatia after the daily quota had been reached, stoking fears of a new human bottleneck on the western Balkan route.

“The pressure of immigrants arriving from Croatia is intensifying,” the Slovenian government said in a statement. “They send immigrants toward Slovenia without control, deliberately dispersed.”

Croatia didn't seem ready to slow the flow. On Tuesday morning, a train carrying more than 1,000 migrants from the town of Tovarnik and some 20 buses full of migrants from the Opatovac refugee camp were headed toward the Slovenian border.

The desperate refugees and migrants were forced to spend the night in freezing temperatures near rail tracks after police stopped them from walking across the border dividing the two EU states.

They are among thousands of people — mostly fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — who have tried to forge a new route to northern Europe after Hungary sealed off its Croatian border with a razor-wire fence.

The Hungarian government's latest move to stop the flow through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia has pushed the refugees towards Slovenia, from where they hope to continue on to Austria and eventually Germany.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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