Will we be fenced in entirely?
Slovenes were delighted when their country joined the European Union in 2004 and the border fences that separated them from their neighbors came down, said Vojislav Bercko. Well, that moment of joy is now decidedly over. Austria and Hungary have already refenced much of our northern and western borders. Now Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister and de facto leader, is threatening to fence our 120-mile eastern border to “protect fearful Italians from the hordes” of African and Middle Eastern migrants who might threaten Italian culture. Such walls make a mockery of the idea of the free movement of people, one of the cornerstones of the European project. So you’d think that Slovenian leaders would be protesting, but we’ve heard barely a peep. Perhaps they think “Slovenia doesn’t have the right to complain.” Three years ago, we, too, put up a fence on our southern border with Croatia to block migrants from entering. But there’s a difference: While Croatia is an EU member, it is not, like Slovenia, a part of the Schengen visa-free travel zone, so we were within our rights to block that border. Austria, Hungary, and Italy, however, should not be able to wall off a fellow Schengen member. At this rate, Slovenia could soon be “entirely fenced in.”