Counter-terrorism remains high on the agenda of the ministry and the police
Today, State Secretary Dr Branko Lobnikar received the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Ilkka Salmi, who is visiting Slovenia as part of his working visits to EU member states after taking up his post on 1 October 2021.
Lobnikar and Salmi discussed global challenges in the prevention, detection and investigation of terrorism, as well as good practices and the way forward at national and EU level. "Slovenia is a safe country and the terrorist threat is low," Lobnikar said, adding that the fight against terrorism remains high on the agenda of the ministry and the police.
Terrorism makes good use of modern technology, including the internet. Terrorists use it to communicate securely, acquire resources, train and, through social media, reinforce radicalisation leading to terrorism and violent extremism. The two speakers agreed that early detection and prevention of terrorism is of key importance. In addition to detection and evidence gathering, the internet can serve as a tool to reach the most vulnerable groups, such as young people, prisoners, etc., in order to provide adequate information and prevent them from radicalising.
They also spoke about so-called foreign terrorist fighters, focusing on young people trying to return from the battlefields and camps in Syria to their countries of origin in the EU, who continue to pose an increased security risk. State Secretary Lobnikar, who is a university professor in the field of police and security studies, proposed cooperation with the academia and added that he was working on a doctoral thesis on the subject as a co-supervisor.
As terrorism is a global phenomenon, the two speakers also agreed on the importance of continuous exchange of information between member states in monitoring terrorist threats. Lobnikar also highlighted the work of the Slovenian Police and cooperation with partners in the Western Balkans region.
Salmi met yesterday with representatives of the police management. He was received by the Assistant Director General of the Police, Jože Senica. During the discussion, which took place in a pleasant atmosphere, Senica stressed, among other things, that Slovenia is aware of its responsibility in protecting the external Schengen border and of the role we play in the Western Balkans region. Representatives of the Criminal Police Directorate gave the coordinator a detailed presentation on the work of the Slovenian Police in the field of counter-terrorism and on the priorities and challenges faced by the police in their work. The coordinator commended Slovenia's efforts and work in the Western Balkans region, particularly in reducing radicalisation and in other areas of counter-terrorism.
On his working visit to Slovenia, Salmi also met with representatives of other counter-terrorism bodies in Slovenia: the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Service and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice. He also met with the State Secretary for National Security and International Security in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Andrej Benedejčič.
The position of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator was established by EU leaders following the terrorist attack in Madrid on 11 March 2004. The coordinator is responsible for coordinating counter-terrorism work within the EU Council, presenting policy recommendations and proposing priority areas for action to the EU Council, and for monitoring the implementation of the EU Counter-Terrorism Strategy.