March 10, 2016 / 3:48 PM / a year ago

Slovenia to accept first migrants in relocation quota in April

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia expects to receive the first 40 migrants of its EU quota in April, Bostjan Sefic, state secretary at the Interior Ministry, said on Thursday.

The Alpine state, the smallest on the Balkan migration route, committed itself last year to taking 587 refugees and said it would start receiving them once the route is closed.

Over the past five days no migrants have arrived in Slovenia, after Macedonia closed its border with Greece in line with an agreement reached at the EU summit on Monday.

Sefic told a news conference 349 migrants would come to Slovenia from Greece, 218 from Italy and 20 from other states.

"Once they receive (asylum) status, the migrants will be included into integration programmes," Sefic said, adding that up to 50 a month would be received until August 2017.

Since October almost 500,000 migrants have crossed Slovenia on their way to wealthier European states. Only about 460 have requested asylum in the small Alpine state, and about a dozen have received it so far.

Reporting by Marja Novak; editing by Andrew Roche

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