Closed EU Borders Would Hurt Slovenia's Economy, Chamber Says

  • Cost to Slovenian truckers estimated at up to EU100m
  • Impact on rest of export-oriented economy would be bigger

The European Union’s refugees crisis will undermine Slovenia’s economy if the bloc’s migrant crisis forces further border closures, according to the country’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The cost to Slovenian truckers alone could be as much as 100 million euros ($108 million) a year, while the impact on other parts of the export-oriented Balkan economy of 2 million people would be much bigger, chamber president Marjan Mackosek told reporters in Ljubljana Tuesday.

Countries on the main Balkan route for migrants and refugees arriving in the EU from the Middle East imposed new border controls last week. The new limits in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and non-EU members Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia on the number of people they’ll let through are challenging an agreement with Turkey to solve the crisis. They’re also threatening the free movement of goods and people, core principles underpinning the 28-member bloc.

The nations have defied German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has called on EU nations to return to the orderly operation of their frontiers and help redistribute hundreds of thousands of migrants to solve the worst such crisis since World War II. Leaders from the bloc will meet to try to create a plan to avoid a further eroding of the passport-free Schengen travel zone at a summit later this month.

Slovenia’s economy, which grew 2.9 percent last year, is forecast to slow to 2.3 percent pace this year, according to the government’s economic institute.

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