February 22, 2016 / 3:15 PM / in 2 years

Slovenian army to help police control migrant inflow on border

Migrants walk towards the Austrian border town of Spielfeld in the village of Sentilj, Slovenia, February 16, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - The Slovenian army will be sent to guard the border with Croatia and help police control the flow of migrants into the country under legislation expected to pass parliament which met on Monday.

Speaking ahead of the parliamentary session, Prime Minister Miro Cerar told a news conference the army would be assigned to the border duty for three months only.

Parliamentary parties have already indicated the move will get the support of at least two thirds of parliament’s deputies when the vote takes place late on Monday or early on Tuesday.

“This will be no military action (of the army). The army will just help police in guarding the border and direct migrants who may want to cross the green border into the reception centers,” Cerar said. Numbers of soldiers helping police will depend upon the size of migrant flows.

Slovenia’s move follows an announcement by its northern neighbor, Austria, that it will limit the inflow of migrants into the country.

Since October, when Hungary sealed off its border with Croatia and pushed the migrant wave west to Slovenia, about 474,000 migrants have entered Slovenia on their way to Austria and other northern European states.

Slovenia, with two million citizens, is the smallest country on the Balkan migrant route. Interior Minister Vesna Gyorkos Znidar said earlier on Monday the country would do everything to prevent that it becomes a bottleneck for migrants.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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