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Working visit of the Minister of the Interior to Brussels and The Hague as part of preparations for the Presidency

As part of preparations for Slovenia's Presidency in the second half of 2021, the Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs and his delegation paid a two-day working visit to Brussels and The Hague. In Brussels, he met with the Director-General for Justice and Home Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council Christine Roger.

The meeting, which was also attended by the Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the EU Iztok Jarc, was dedicated to a discussion on working methods and cooperation with the General Secretariat during Slovenia's Presidency. They also addressed substantive issues and priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in the field of work of the Ministry of the Interior.

“We are intensively preparing for the Presidency and we have multiple demanding dossiers in the field of home affairs,” said Minister Hojs and mentioned the priorities: development of a comprehensive EU migration policy, strengthening the Schengen area, ensuring a high level of security in the EU, and focusing on the Western Balkan region.

In Brussels, Minister Hojs also met with the Belgian Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden and State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Sammy Mahdi for an exchange of opinions on issues on the agenda during Slovenia's presidency. At the meeting, which took place in a constructive atmosphere, the Belgian Minister endorsed Slovenia's approach to the home affairs dossiers where Slovenia wishes to make headway during its Presidency.

As part of preparations for the Presidency, Minister Hojs also visited The Hague, where he was received by Ambassador Sanja Štiglic. She briefed Minister Hojs on the current situation regarding Covid-19 in the Netherlands and the political situation following the recent elections.

In The Hague, Minister Hojs also visited Europol, where he was received by the Executive Director Catherine De Bolle. One of the priorities in the field of home affairs is ensuring a high level of security in the EU and Slovenia, especially through enhanced police cooperation. “Europol has an important role to play here,” stressed Minister Hojs, adding that during the Presidency, we would also discuss the draft regulation changing the agency's mandate. The Director of Europol praised Slovenia’s preparations for the Presidency and thanked Minister Hojs for his cooperation and clear positions on the formation of a new, stronger mandate for the operational work of this important EU agency to strengthen the internal security of the EU and the Member States.

Minister Hojs concluded his visit to The Hague with bilateral meetings with the Dutch Minister for Migration Ankie Broekers-Knol and the Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinad Grapperhaus. They welcomed the priorities and said that the Netherlands would be a constructive partner in the formation of common solutions.