As part of Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU, a meeting of senior EU-US officials from the field of justice and home affairs took place today in Ljubljana. The meeting was chaired by Jože Senica, Assistant Director General of the Police and Chair of the Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation in the Field of Internal Security (COSI), and Dr Katja Rejec Longar, Director of the Office for International Cooperation and International Legal Assistance at the Ministry of Justice and Chair of the Coordinating Committee in the area of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (CATS), representing the field of justice. The meeting served as a preparation for the ministerial meeting to be held later during the Slovenia’s Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Strengthening transatlantic relations is one of the Slovenia’s Presidency priorities for home affairs. At the meeting, the participants discussed common security challenges, in particular cooperation on counter-terrorism, information exchange, violent extremism, hate speech and racism. The COSI Chair Jože Senica stressed that “By working closely together, we can ensure a high level of security for our citizens. I am pleased that at today’s meeting we also committed to further cooperation and strengthening of the EU-US relations.” They also discussed digitalisation, including how it relates to crimes committed over the internet, such as child sexual abuse. We are intensifying our cooperation with our partner, the United States of America, on migration and the fight against people smuggling, given the situation in Afghanistan, which we are following closely. Visa reciprocity was also briefly mentioned.
The agenda of the meeting also included a discussion on the resumption of international travel between the EU and the US, which had been restricted as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The US partners announced that they would lift the restrictions on international travellers who are vaccinatedat at the beginning of November, which was welcomed by the Presidency.
In the area of justice, participants emphasised the strengthening of EU-US judicial cooperation in criminal matters. They also discussed the challenges of digitalisation within justice, with a focus on new technologies, and the fight against digital crime, including the context of the liability of digital platforms for illegal content. The participants also touched upon investigation and law enforcement instruments, data protection and e-evidence in the light of the EU-US relationship. In the context of the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the participants also talked about the development and use of trustworthy artificial intelligence in justice and home affairs.