The Minister of the Interior of Slovenia, Aleš Hojs, met with the Greek Minister of Citizen Protection, Michalis Chrysochoidis, and the Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis A. Mitarachi, in Athens on Monday, as part of preparations for the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The meeting took place in a constructive atmosphere and the Ministers agreed that the cooperation between the two countries was good. The discussion focused on Slovenia’s preparations for the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021.
“Minister Hojs presented to the Greek colleagues the priorities in the area of home affairs: integrated migration management, strengthening the Schengen area, ensuring a high level of security in the EU and the Western Balkans as a regional priority,” said Slovenian government in the press release.
On the issue of migration, they agreed that it was essential to find a common and comprehensive solution at the EU level. “Despite differing views on certain issues, we agree that action on the external dimension of migration is crucial. We need to focus on tackling the causes of migration and strengthening return,” Minister Hojs summarised. “We also agree that it is essential to protect the EU’s external borders, with the involvement of all Member States.”
Slovenia sees an opportunity for progress in the negotiations on the EU Asylum Agency Regulation. According to Minister Hojs, “the European Asylum Support Office needs a stronger mandate to provide operational assistance to the Member States that need it”.
A high level of security in the EU is of paramount importance for both countries. The Greek colleagues were therefore pleased to hear about Slovenia’s plans for the Presidency. “We will strive to strengthen police cooperation, in particular in the prevention and investigation of child sexual abuse and cross-border search for missing persons.”
Slovenia would also like to see progress in the negotiations on the Europol Regulation. “We support the strengthening of Europol, which can help particularly the Member States with small administration systems analyse large databases. The Agency’s stronger role in innovation and development of state-of-the-art policing tools is also important,” Minister Hojs said.
The Greek colleagues pledged to be a constructive partner in the negotiations and wished Minister Hojs and his team a successful Presidency./ibna