Chaos at the Slovenian-Croatian border last weekend: While the Croatian border guards were almost overly meticulous about the new entry requirements to Croatia (tested-vaccinated-genuine, SeaHelp reported) and ensured kilometer-long traffic jams with waiting times of up to six hours, returnees from Croatia were downright ripped off at the Croatian-Slovenian border and asked to pay by the Slovenians.
Croatia returnees ripped off in Slovenia
Croatia returnees who wanted to avoid the traffic jams at the border and switched to smaller border crossings were, as reported several times, first checked and “cleared” accordingly by Slovenians at the Croatian-Slovenian border. 300 meters behind the border on Slovenian territory, the Slovenian police waited and cashed the returning travelers for “illegal entry into the Schengen area”, as it was officially called.
The reason: One had used a border crossing reserved exclusively for Slovenian citizens instead of the international border crossing. Thus one had entered illegally into the Schengen area. Per person in the vehicle, the shortcut then cost 400 euros, at the discretion of the police, the penalties could be increased up to 1,200 euros per person.
The term “rip-off” fits this dubious game quite well, because already during the control by the border guards, the travelers should have been given the opportunity to turn back. After all, the supreme task of every official in Europe is to prevent crimes and misdemeanors. In this case, the border guards knowingly sent vacationers returning from Croatia into the cost trap. A shocked vacationer: “Slovenia should consider once, whether this behavior fits to the image of the country Slovenia that presents itself outward gladly as tourism-friendly.” Here is the link to the “allowed” border crossings.
Also ÖAMTC warns holidaymakers
Also the ÖAMTC warns meanwhile: “Again and again it happens that travelers, in order to escape traffic jams, do not use an international border crossing – but another one, which, however, is only permitted for Slovenians”, knows ÖAMTC lawyer Verena Pronebner. In the specific case, the travelers did not use the border crossing “Zavrč”, but “Goričak 1”. “By doing so, however, the travelers enter Slovenia ‘illegally’ and violate the law there for the protection of the Schengen external border. There is a fine of up to 1,200 euros – and that per accompanying person”, explains the expert. She warns: “In retrospect, you can no longer go against it.”
Only via international border crossings
The urgent recommendation of the ÖAMTC lawyer is therefore: “Even if you understandably want to avoid the classic border crossings because of the risk of traffic jams, you should definitely make sure to use an international border crossing from Croatia to Slovenia.”
Map of international border crossings
To save vacationers from becoming victims of the Slovenia rip-off, SeaHelp has once again published the map of allowed international border crossings here.
Croatia controls new entry rules – long traffic jams
Criticism must accept on the first vacation weekend with increased entry traffic to Croatia also the Croatian border guards. Vacationers report extensive checking of necessary travel documents, especially papers around the mandatory new measures that require proof of vaccination, testing or recovery from COVID-19 upon entry. This resulted in up to six hours of congestion, or waiting time, at the borders when entering Croatia. Even pre-registration at EnterCroatia did not help reduce border wait times.
A consultation with the Croatian National Tourist Board revealed that the problem would be addressed and already for the coming weekend the situation at the entry to Croatia should become relatively normal.
Croatia as a vacation destination is booming
There is definitely a need for action, because in the period from 1.7.2021 to 7.7.2021, according to the Croatian National Tourist Board, 40% more holidaymakers had entered Croatia compared to the previous year. In total, more than 600,000 guests have already enjoyed their vacations in Croatia. The share of 100,000 German vacationers in the total number of vacationers is at the same level as the previous year, with over 40,000 Austrian guests, the share of Austrians has increased significantly.
Normality at the border is expected
Not least for this reason, a degree of normality should return to the border and instead of strict checks on every single person, it would be desirable to limit themselves to spot checks to ensure the flow of traffic.