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Minister Hojs discusses preparations for the Presidency with his Italian counterpart Lamorgese

Today, as part of preparations for Slovenia’s Presidency, Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs had a meeting with Italy’s Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese through video conferencing. They agreed the levels of cooperation between their countries in the area of home affairs have always been good. Their discussion focused on Slovenia’s preparations for assuming the Council Presidency in the second semester of 2021 and on some topical issues such as irregular migration.

The Ministers extensively discussed migration, in particular irregular migration placing Slovenia and Italy under considerable pressure. »We agreed a common and comprehensive solution needs to be found at the EU level, which will be an endeavour of our Presidency,« said Mr. Hojs to his Italian counterpart and added: »One of the first steps should be strengthening the mandate of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which provides operational support to Member States. Slovenia will work towards appropriate solutions.« Minister Lamorgese said Italy would be a constructive partner in negotiations. A comprehensive migration management calls for tackling the root causes of migration and forced displacement, for promoting return, and for preventing migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

In the area of internal security, the Presidency will focus mainly on ensuring a high level of security across the EU, especially through an increased and effective police cooperation. One of the major steps to take at the EU level to enhance security is amending the Europol Regulation. The Ministers agreed that Europol’s mandate should be enhanced. »This will vest the Agency with wider powers, including a possibility of issuing alerts in the Schengen information system for third-country nationals who plan criminal offences in the EU and cannot be associated to any Member State,« said Mr. Hojs, pointing out this important new feature promoted by Slovenia.  

The discussion continued with the Western Balkans region. »The objective of the Slovenian Presidency is to develop a higher level of security in the region, which has a direct impact on security in Slovenia and in the EU.« The Minister briefed his counterpart on the conference with the ministers of the Western Balkans in the framework of the Brdo Process, which will be held this June to discuss the management of illegal migration, and the prevention and investigation of online child sexual abuse. At the end of the year, the Presidency will also hold the EU–Western Balkans Forum.

Mr. Hojs informed Ms Lamorgese that Slovenia would second a liaison officer to Rome for the term of its Presidency, which highlights the good cooperation between their respective countries in the area of home affairs. The Minister wrapped up the meeting by inviting his counterpart to visit Slovenia.