Minister Hojs: Slovenia will strive for a strengthened Schengen during the Presidency
Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs, joined by members of the delegation, attended the second meeting of the Schengen Forum through a videoconference. The aim of the meeting, convened by the European Commission, was to deepen the political and strategic debate ahead of the presentation of the strategy on the future of Schengen, which is expected to be put forward by the European Commission in early June.
The speakers exchanged their views on the most appropriate ways forward to achieve a fully operational Schengen area while preserving and further strengthening its security. The main tools to contribute to this objective are the timely and effective implementation of existing legal obligations on the one hand and the implementation of new technologies and innovations on the other.
The Minister welcomed the continuation of an in-depth discussion on how to ensure effective and enhanced operation of Schengen area in future. Minister Hojs noted that “the introduction of new systems, such as the entry and exit system (EES) and the travel information and authorisation system (ETIAS), should contribute significantly to the strengthening of the Schengen area and to increased confidence among Member States, ultimately leading to a situation without internal border controls.”
“As a country with an external Schengen border we invest a great deal of efforts in the timely implementation of new systems. It is essential that we find technological solutions to improve border-processing times for travellers and border police officers, especially at busiest sections such as the Slovenia-Croatia border,” Minister Hojs added.
Further, the Minister stood up for a stronger role for Frontex at the external border and a more decisive demonstration of tasks vested in it. “Slovenia has fulfilled its obligations concerning the establishment of the standing corps and I hope that other Member States will do so as soon as possible.”
In order to manage the Schengen area in a predictable and coordinated way, we need proper tools. “I wish to bring to your attention to Slovenia’s suggestion from 2014 on periodic reports on the operation of Schengen. In this way, key shortcomings would be addressed at the political level. However, Member States would have to ensure compliance with what has been adopted,” Hojs said.
A stronger Schengen is one of the priorities of Slovenia's Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of this year, Minister Hojs said in his conclusion. “Slovenia supports the European Commission in its efforts to improve Schengen in order to be more responsive to potential threats and new crisis situations.”