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Minister Poklukar in Vienna: Prevention of trafficking of migrants is one of the areas showing successful results of regional cooperation

On 6 November 2019, Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia, Boštjan Poklukar, and the Ministry delegation attended the ministerial meeting of the Salzburg Forum.

Ministers opened the meeting with a debate on the link between the functioning of the Schengen area and the Dublin Regulation. Functioning of the Schengen area is closely linked to the functioning of the asylum system and the system of returns. The Dublin Regulation is the foundation of the single European migration system. It determines the member states most responsible for processing international protection applications, but has proven not to be the most appropriate tool for responding to challenges posed by increased and mixed migration flows. As a result, the Ministers agreed that in order to safeguard the Schengen system, urgent changes to the Dublin Regulation are called for, namely changes that would ensure timely and efficient processing of international protection applications while preventing misuse of the international protection system.    

Minister of the Interior Boštjan Poklukar said that Schengen rules as well as the Dublin Regulation require an update »in order to match the challenges we are facing in the time of intense migration pressure. « This also calls for a response to the question on the kind of circumstances we are formulating the system for. »It is practically impossible for a system intended to function in the circumstances of a »normal« migration pressure to also function in the case of disproportionally increased migration pressure. This was one of the most obvious experiences from the 2015 and 2016 migration crisis, when all the existing tools at the EU level turned out to be unfit, forcing us to formulate regional solutions and partial agreements.« As a consequence Slovenia has proposed on several occasions for the system addressing crisis circumstances to be excluded from the Dublin Regulation and be formulated as one of the elements of the EU's integrated management of migrations instead. »The starting premise is already there, namely in the Directive on temporary protection, which has been part of the acquis since 2001. «

Ministers agreed that the future system of migration management should be designed to contain all key aspects – the need to address the situation in the third counties, availability of support for the countries hosting the largest number of migrants, efficient supervision of external EU borders and returns of migrants not fulfilling the criteria for international protection to the counties of origin, and provision of access to international protection for those in true need of it. They also reiterated their stance on reallocation of persons requiring protection among the member states, which is still being opposed by the countries of the Visegrád group. Ministers agreed for the Austrian presidency to prepare a document presenting Salzburg forum's standpoint regarding the future direction of the EU migration policy. In doing so, the forum aims to make an active contribution to European Commission’s formulation of the programme.

The afternoon session of the meeting was dedicated to one of the biggest challenges the region has been facing – combating against trafficking of migrants. Ministers of the Salzburg forum were joined in the discussion by their colleagues from several Schengen countries (Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Denmark and Finland). Slovenian Minister presented the current migration situation in the country, where we are facing an uptick of illegal crossings of the national border and a growing number of applications for international protection. The situation in Slovenia is nevertheless stable. »Slovenia is a reliable Schengen partner providing efficient control of the external border. « Slovenian police is also very successful in acting against migrant traffickers, having apprehended 400 traffickers this year alone. »I am estimating that prevention of trafficking is one of the areas where success of cross-border cooperation is showing. Trafficking is a distinctively international form of crime, and cannot be tackled without international cooperation of law enforcements of the countries in the region and the EU at large. « Minister Poklukar also stressed.

Slovenian Minister of the Interior also met with Austrian colleague Wolfgang Peschorn.