Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs attended a meeting of the interior ministers of the Visegrad Group, the Republic of Austria and the Republic of Slovenia in Budapest. The meeting focused on the current challenges in migration and topical issues concerning the management of Europe’s borders.
Minister Hojs opened by thanking the ministers for the constructive approach that they had shown in adopting the Statement on the Situation in Afghanistan at the extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers at the end of August in Brussels. “I would also like to add that the adoption of the statement does not suffice and that there must be steps that follow from the statement, i.e. the statement has to be implemented, whereby we expect even greater involvement of EU agencies, especially Europol and Frontex.”
“Protection of the EU’s external borders must remain our absolute priority in addressing security risks and preventing potential migration pressures. We must not let a scenario similar to the 2015 migration crisis unfold again, which is why we must avoid making statements that may translate as a pull factor,” Minister Hojs said in his opening remarks. He underlined the urgency of concerted efforts in managing the external dimension of migration: “The European Commission, in cooperation with us, the EU member states, must establish close cooperation with third countries. This cooperation must be based on the principle of mutual benefit. Action plans for priority countries that provide a structured overview of the objectives and the steps to be taken to achieve them are a good tool to strengthen further relations.”
Minister Hojs also presented the content of the forthcoming JHA Council, in particular the continuation of the discussion on the Pact on Migration and Asylum. According to the minister, the Eurodac Regulation is ready to be treated with priority and separated from the package, as it is crucial for the swift implementation of interoperability and for improving migration and asylum management in general, in particular in the area of return. “We need more control over who enters the EU,” the Minister said and stressed, “The Presidency is seeking to arrive at a suitable compromise and counting on your support for the proposed approach.”