Minister Hojs: Protecting EU's external borders is our shared responsibility
Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs attended a two-day conference on border management in Vilnius. Participants addressed the issue of the instrumentalisation of migrants for political purposes and discussed common measures to strengthen surveillance at the EU's external borders in the face of increased migration flows. On the margins of the event organised by the Interior Ministers of Austria, Greece, Lithuania and Poland, the participants visited a border surveillance centre and were updated on the situation at the external border.
"Protecting the EU's external borders is our shared responsibility," pointed out the Minister, adding that "we need to make greater use of modern surveillance systems and physical barriers where necessary to strengthen border protection, as these have proven to be a concrete measure to prevent mass migration flows." He also expressed his surprise that the European Commission's new proposal on the Schengen Borders Code does not include this measure as a tool of border control, in spite of requests by several member states. The Minister also called on the Commission to reconsider its position on the possibility of funding such technical infrastructure from EU funds.
In order to achieve the desired outcome, we need to make progress on other elements of comprehensive migration management, Minister Hojs further explained Slovenia's position, calling for an early agreement on the proposals for the Eurodac and screening regulations. He also stressed the importance of the external dimension of migration and of a more effective return policy. "The EU return system lacks efficiency and real progress is needed there, which includes a strengthened role of Frontex and the appointment of a return coordinator as soon as possible."
At the end of the conference, the participants endorsed a joint statement, which calls for a coherent common approach to border management, and identifies tools and measures for more effective surveillance and a common response to possible future challenges, in order to ensure the highest possible level of security, preserve the integrity of the Schengen area and manage effectively migration pressure and hybrid threats.