Slovenia has become part of the Balkan route after Hungary closed its borders with Croatia on 17th October 2015. After the border closed, the flows diverted, with over 200,000 entering the country until mid-November 2015. Refugees coming via Croatia transit through Slovenia continuing their journey towards Northern Europe.
According to the UNHCR, 257 refugees resided in Slovenia in 2014. In 2014, 355 first time asylum applications were made, an increase from 240 in 2013 (Eurostat data).
In the first half of 2015, the country received one of the smallest number of first-time asylum applications relative to the size of the country’s population.
In 2014, the top three citizenships of asylum applicants were from Syria (90), Afghanistan (75) and Pakistan (25).
The government’s approach
The Slovenian government assisted refugees with temporary accommodation. However, overwhelmed with inflows, the country imposed a limit on entries: 2,500 per day. The country also considered constructing a fence on (parts of) its border with Croatia.
The refugee transit centres are over-crowded, leaving some sleeping in the open as the temperatures drop. Slovenia also requested assistance from other EU Member States for its police in order to help with managing inflows.
Refugees in host communities
Civil society organisations and volunteers have worked collecting donations and food. They distributed blankets and winter clothes as the temperatures were dropping.
In spring 2015, just one per cent of Slovenians declared that immigration is one of the main issues facing the country.