The Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, met with his Czech colleague Jan Hamáček in Prague today, as part of the preparations for Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. He continued the working visit in Bratislava with a meeting with the Slovakian Minister Roman Mikulec.
He outlined to his colleagues the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in the area of home affairs, where our focus will be on finding appropriate solutions in the negotiations on the legislative instruments that form part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum. Minister Hojs voiced a desire for some headway to be made, following lengthy and difficult negotiations on the Pact, saying: “We want to see progress made on the proposal for a regulation on the EU Asylum Agency, and a strengthening of the mandate of the European Asylum Support Office – EASO, which provides operational support to Member States under migratory pressure”. The Czech Republic and Slovakia share Slovenia’s position on migration: they advocate progress in the external dimension and more effective return.
“One of the priorities will be the strengthening of the Schengen Area,” Minister Hojs said, before adding that “just today the European Commission presented its strategy for the future of Schengen, which will be the basis for future discussions during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU”.
We will strive to ensure a high level of security across the EU, which we want to achieve by enhancing police cooperation and information exchange. One of the most important legislative instruments where we want to see progress is the revised Europol Regulation, which Slovenia supports. “The Czech Republic and Slovakia also support it in principle, though we still have to agree on a compromise text at expert level. We want a strengthened mandate for the Agency, which can help particularly Member States with small administration systems analyse large databases. The Agency’s stronger role in innovation and development of state-of-the-art policing tools is also important.”
Regionally, our focus will be on the Western Balkan, where we will endeavour to step up police cooperation, particularly in preventing and investigating child sexual abuse and missing persons.
The Czech and Slovakian Ministers expressed their support for Slovenia’s Presidency plans in the area of home affairs and pledged a constructive attitude in negotiations.