Sun Apr 9, 2017 02:21PM
People wait in their cars to enter Croatia at the Obrezje border crossing point on the border between Slovenia and Croatia on April 7, 2017 in Obrezje, Slovenia. (AFP photo)
People wait in their cars to enter Croatia at the Obrezje border crossing point on the border between Slovenia and Croatia on April 7, 2017 in Obrezje, Slovenia. (AFP photo)

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar has censured the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, for imposing tougher checks and controls at the borders of the Schengen zone, saying those measures have made the situation on the Slovenia’s border with Croatia unbearable.

"The implementation of the EU's directive on the border with Croatia has caused totally intolerable conditions over the last few days,” said Cerar on Twitter on Sunday, adding that both Slovenia and Croatia had agreed during conversations on Saturday that “the situation is unacceptable.”

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar (AFP photo)

Slovenia, a member of the Schengen passport-free area, controls 670 kilometers (420 miles) of the EU's external border with Croatia, an EU member but still not a Schengen member. The EU ordered systematic checks at the external borders of the Schengen area on Friday based on a legislation in the EU parliament which sought to block the return of European nationals from Iraq and Syria, where they have been fighting along the ranks of terrorist groups.

Lines of cars and buses began forming at the main border crossings between Slovenia and Croatia soon after the EU Commission order was issued. Many holidaymakers from Western Europe were also forced to spend hours in queues to head to the southern Europe. Slovenia police then softened the enforcement of the checks and suspended controlling EU travelers.

Cerar said the checks had caused wrong sentiments among the public while it could impact the Slovenian economy.

"We have to ensure safety within the Schengen area but not by causing so much bad feeling among people and damage to our economy," he said, adding that the new regime will continue to be implemented in a “softer” mode until conditions at the border are normalized. 

The premier said that "Slovenia and Croatia will present proposals to the European Commission to .. satisfactorily change this regulation as soon as possible.”