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Ministers of the Interior demonstrated political will in favour of gradual progress in the formulation of the common EU Migration Policy

The Ministers of the Interior met for an informal meeting hosted by Slovenian Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs at the Brdo Congress Centre and demonstrated political will in favour of gradual progress in the formulation of the common EU Migration Policy.

The ministers dedicated the working lunch to exchange views on how progress in negotiations on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum can be achieved. "The ministers held a sincere and open debate, in which they presented their views that remain largely directed towards the nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated approach. However, there is still a possibility of making a step forward with the full package with the files that are not related to the most sensitive issues of the pact, particularly the Eurodac regulation - I am pleased that we demonstrated political will in favour of gradual progress in the formulation of the common EU Migration Policy," said Minister Hojs in his summary of the working lunch debate. Ministers also underlined the importance of closer cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, and efficient returns. They also stressed the need to continue discussions on responsibility and solidarity. The next steps towards adoption of certain legislative acts will be mapped on the grounds of the debate. The ministers expressed shared concern regarding the situation in Lithuania and conveyed strong support to Lithuania in managing the migratory pressure.

The ministers also addressed the item regarding the future of the Schengen area. "We started working on the Schengen strategy and the Schengen evaluation mechanism in the competent working body on the very first day of our presidency," Minister Hojs noted. In the debate, the ministers formulated common guidelines about their views on the proposals of the Schengen Code and the EU Police Cooperation Code, which the European Commission is to present by the end of the year. "We agreed that in consideration of all the discussions and experiences from the past crisis, we should chart a common road towards a future Schengen system that is resilient to new challenges and any new potential threats. In order to formulate a future Schengen area, we need a comprehensive approach with appropriate balance between tighter control on the external EU borders and the measures inside the area of free flow. Therefore, we must restore mutual trust as soon as possible," the minister also added.

Under the item on the impact of digital files on the work of law enforcement authorities, ministers were shown a practical demonstration on how the proposal on artificial intelligence regulation will impact the daily work of police and what obstacles and challenges they may face in investigating crime. Minister Hojs said: "We agreed that the latest and state-of-the-art tools must be available to law enforcement authorities as support in investigating crime, which is increasingly moving to the digital environment." The ministers will report the joint opinion that the use of artificial intelligence in investigating and other crime preventing procedures is crucial, otherwise crime will always stay one step ahead of authorities, to their respective countries' ministers in charge of adoption of this regulation.

Ministers took note of the conclusions of the June conference of the Brdo process, which has functioned as a platform for strengthening cooperation with the Western Balkan region since 2001. "I am happy to see there is wide support for our approach to closer cooperation with our Western Balkan partners in the identification of migrants, exchange of information, return of irregular migrants and fight against child sexual abuse," Minister Hojs added. In planning further activities, Slovenia will take into consideration the proposals and initiatives of other EU Member States and report on the progress and the results achieved at the December meeting of EU–Western Balkans ministers of the interior.