Estonian police unit dispatched to Slovenian-Croatian border (3)
The Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is sending a 25-man unit, ESTPOL1, on a month-long mission to Slovenia.
The aim of the mission is to help the Slovenian police in areas near the Croatian border, where thousands of refugees arrive each day, PPA said.
ESTPOL 1, made up of 25 officers, left for Slovenia at 10:00 this morning, on November 4.
ESTPOL1 (Photo: Siim Lõvi/ERR).
At the end of October, Slovenia asked EU member states for help with the refugee crisis. The country, just half the size of Estonia, is stuggling to cope with tens of thousands of refugees passing through its borders. Now, Estonian officers will help their Slovenian collegues to ensure public order and border security.
According to Estonian police chief, Elmar Vaher, Slovenia has for weeks been close to exhausting its internal security capacity.
The mission is the first cross-border police cooperation of this magnititude for Estonia. "One of the key solutions to the European refugee crisis lies in international cooperation and this is Estonia's opportunity to help its allies," Vaher said.
"Although it's unlikely that Estonia will face a similar situation, the month-long mission will provide our officers with valuable experience," he added.
Although ESTPOL1 will take its orders from the Slovenian authorities, the officers will be wearing Estonian uniforms, weapons and other special gear.
Slovenia has so far received help from Germany, Austria, Latvia, and Lithuania. Hungary, Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have also said they are willing to deploy police officers to the country.