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Slovenia Active in Shaping EU Migration Policy

The Minister of the Interior Boštjan Poklukar met with the Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson on 17 January 2020 during her visit to Slovenia. “The Commissioner has taken over a key portfolio, one that comes with great expectations from Member States and citizens. Security, asylum and migration are among the greatest challenges the EU has faced in recent years,” said Poklukar when stating the importance of the meeting.

The Commissioner stressed that migration was not going to stop, therefore it had to become a normal part of EU operation. She said that the President of the European Commission had entrusted her with the preparation of a new European pact on migration and asylum, which was to represent a fresh start in this area. The key pillars of the Pact will be cooperation with third countries, better protection of the external border, including the introduction of border procedures, support for the Member State of first entry where a balance between solidarity and responsibility needs to be found, reducing secondary migration and improving the effectiveness of return. The Commissioner emphasised the need for all Member States to work together as the right solution can only be found if we all join forces.

The Minister said Slovenia was ready to debate new concepts, noting that the country had been taking an active part in looking for solutions and in negotiations all along. “It is important that we should get a new legal basis for a Common European Asylum System as soon as possible.” Poklukar pointed out that there had been many attempts in the past years to regulate the areas the Pact would focus on but they had been unsuccessful as none of them had taken proper account of the challenges on the ground. The Minister said he expected the new Commissioner to be more effective in tackling these issues.

The European Commission is also considering reforming the Schengen rules. The Minister reiterated Slovenia’s position that internal border controls were an excessive measure and represented a disproportionate interference with fundamental freedoms of the EU. He also warned that internal border controls had negative impacts on the economy and the population.

The Minister stressed that for Slovenia solidarity was important. Slovenia is a responsible member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, which we make every effort to protect. He also presented the measures that Slovenia uses to effectively control illegal crossings of the state border and pointed out that illegal border crossings create costs for the border municipalities. He suggested that the European Commission should take this fact into consideration in planning funding and give Member States a possibility to draw down funding for this purpose as well.