Slovenia to speed up processing of asylum seekers

A mounted policeman leads a group of migrants near Dobova, Slovenia October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - The Slovenian government on Thursday proposed a law that would speed up procedures for assessing asylum seekers after the country was flooded by migrants passing through to Western Europe.

Since Hungary closed its border with Croatia in mid-October and pushed migrant flows west to Slovenia, over 310,000 people have arrived to Slovenia, which is the smallest country on the Balkan migrant route.

So far only about 120 of those migrants have asked for asylum in Slovenia but the government has decided to speed up procedures to harmonize legislation with that of the EU.

According to the proposal, authorities will have two months to resolve asylum requests in cases of people “for whom it is established from the start that they obviously do not need international protection”, the government said in a report after its regular weekly meeting.

In November Slovenia said it would begin turning back “economic migrants” arriving through Croatia.

A police protest in the middle of the capital Ljubljana on Thursday added to the government’s problems, with thousands of police officers gathering in front of the government building to demand a 35 percent wage increase, a bigger workforce and better equipment.

A police strike that started on Nov. 18 has so far not affected security in the country as police are required by law to continue providing security services even during a strike.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Toby Chopra