Skip to main content

Interior Ministers Poklukar, Božinović and Piantedosi support enhanced police cooperation

At a trilateral meeting in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, the Ministers of the Interior of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy, Boštjan Poklukar, Dr Davor Božinović and Matteo Piantedosi, committed to strengthening police cooperation between their countries.

They also endorsed the swift operational implementation of the measures contained in the joint letter signed by the police chiefs of the three countries at the end of February. The aim is to strengthen joint activities for preventing unauthorised border crossings and combating migrant smuggling.

Having met in Trieste, Italy, in November last year and in Buzet, Croatia, in January this year, the three Ministers gathered in Slovenia. The host of the meeting, Slovenian Interior Minister Poklukar, called the trilateral meeting an important platform in the field of migration management and went on to say: "The Western Balkan migration route is still very active, so our close cooperation is of utmost importance. We are also reaching out to our colleagues in the Western Balkans region, as this is a challenge that all of us along the route are faced with."

He also praised the cooperation between police forces, whose activities will focus on strengthening joint Italian-Slovenian and Slovenian-Croatian patrol activities that will be implemented once the internal border controls are lifted. "I am confident of the strategic importance of the trilateral format, launched in Trieste on 2 November, as a mechanism for dialogue to address issues such as security and migration. I remain a supporter of the Schengen Area and I am in favour of the implementation of mixed Italian-Slovenian and Slovenian-Croatian patrols as tools to strengthen security and border controls", Minister Piantedosi stated.

Trilateral patrols at the external border of the Republic of Croatia could also be conducted, based on the most suitable legal framework. Croatian Minister Dr Božinović said: “Since migration is a transnational issue, we can only address it through cross-border and transnational cooperation, primarily the cooperation between police services, which my Slovenian and Italian colleagues and I initiated in Trieste. We have very constructive discussions at our meetings on how to efficiently tackle illegal border crossing attempts on the external Schengen border and combat smuggling activities on the so-called Western Balkans migratory route through better information exchange, risk assessment and cooperation between our police services, all with a common objective to lift the controls that have been reintroduced on the internal Schengen borders. This is our third meeting and it has already yielded results. In spite of the considerable increase of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the number of entries into the Republic of Croatia is significantly lower. That is why we also find important this format of cooperation with all countries in the Western Balkans from which migrants arrive in the Republic of Croatia, Republic of Slovenia, Italian Republic and further on other EU countries.”

An important part of the activities will be the establishment of joint permanent Italian-Slovenian and Slovenian-Croatian committees to hold regular meetings (at local, regional or state level). Their key purpose will be to foster the exchange of risk analysis products and facilitate the management of bilateral readmission procedures.

The Ministers also supported the nomination of permanent points of contact at national levels to enable more frequent exchanges on common challenges and to monitor and update the progress of the trilateral (and regional) cooperation.

Tomorrow, the Ministers will attend the Brdo Process Conference, to which, in addition to the Western Balkan partners, the Interior Ministers of Austria and Hungary, representatives of EU institutions, international and regional organisations and other interested partners have been invited. The Ministers will discuss effective migration management, with a focus on strengthening the fight against migrant smuggling in the Western Balkan region.