Slovenian and Greek interior ministers on war in Ukraine
The Slovenian Minister of the Interior, Aleš Hojs, and the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, met today in Bled. They focused on the war in Ukraine, the gradual approach to the Pact on Migration and Asylum and the political governance of the Schengen area.
The war in Ukraine and its consequences require our utmost attention and coordinated action by member states. In these difficult times, we must show maximum solidarity with Ukraine and its people, said Minister Hojs. "Slovenia is showing its solidarity through concrete actions, such as humanitarian aid (both within the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and in other ways – the people of Slovenia have been making an outstanding contribution), diplomatic support and the extremely rapid activation of temporary protection for displaced persons from Ukraine."
We need to tackle this migration challenge together – with an appropriate and coordinated response at EU level: "We support the European Commission's roadmap in this respect. Particularly important are: a single European registration system for persons with temporary protection, coordinated relocation of Ukrainian refugees and flexible funding rules, but we also need additional financial resources." In this context, we must not forget to focus on the security aspect and on better protection of the EU's external borders with all available means and tools. We need to strengthen the role of EU agencies while working constructively with international organisations and partners.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine crisis should not marginalise other migration challenges in the EU and the migratory pressures on member states. Slovenia supports the efforts of the French Presidency to take a step-by-step approach to the Pact on Migration and Asylum, as we need to find the right balance between responsibility and solidarity. "In our view, priority should be given to screening and registration at external borders. We need a common EU-level database enabling us to have a better overview of the situation and to prevent security risks. That is why Slovenia continues to advocate the swift adoption of the Eurodac Regulation."
The Minister also spoke about the external dimension of migration (the unsatisfactory performance on return and readmission). Here, we should first and foremost ensure that commitments and international obligations are respected and the role of Frontex is strengthened, while we have high expectations from the newly appointed EU Return Coordinator.
Regarding the Schengen area, the Minister told his counterpart Mitarachi that Slovenia has always supported the idea that ministers should hold an in-depth and high-quality discussion among themselves on the biggest challenges in our common area. Schengen must remain robust and able to respond effectively to new crises and pressures, he stressed.