On Wednesday, May 5, Minister of the Interior Mr Sandis Ģirģens met with the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia Mr Aleš Hojs. During the meeting, the ministers discussed the priorities of the upcoming Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, as well as issues of cooperation. In the second half of 2021, Slovenia will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the second time.
"Latvia welcomes the programme of the Slovenian Presidency and the priorities set in the field of home affairs - to develop a comprehensive EU migration management, paying special attention to discussions on outstanding issues in the context of the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, strengthen the Schengen area and continue work on strengthening EU internal security. We are ready to establish constructive cooperation with Slovenia in the future and to provide the necessary support, because the success of the Presidency is the common success of the EU member states,” said Mr Ģirģens.
Mr Hojs welcomed the meeting with Mr Ģirģens and the delegation of the Ministry of the Interior and thanked him for his commitment to supporting Slovenia's priorities in the field of home affairs.
In the field of internal security, the ministers of both countries emphasized the importance of improving cooperation and the exchange of information between EU law enforcement agencies, as well as strengthening the role of Europol under the new mandate. The planned increase in Europol's capacity for bulk data was particularly commendable in the context of processing and analysis, which is expected to be of particular support to small EU Member States.
In the area of the future Schengen strategy, the ministers of both countries agreed that the creation of the Schengen area without internal borders is one of the greatest achievements of European integration, so every effort should be made to maintain it, noting that temporary reintroduction of border in exceptional cases and for a limited period. Latvia's experience shows that the same result can be achieved by using alternative measures and assessing risks.
The issues of bilateral co-operation between both countries were also discussed during the meeting. Already on May 20 this year, six Latvian State Police officers will travel to Slovenia to contribute to the fight against cross-border crime, helping to control Slovenia's southern border. Mr Aleš Hojs also considers it an example of good practice and cooperation for other EU member states.
It should be mentioned that Latvian police officers also provided support to Slovenian colleagues during the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, receiving the Slovenian National Award - a medal for merit.
At the end of the meeting, Mr Ģirģens thanked the Slovenian Minister of the Interior and his team for the initiative to pay a visit to Latvia, as well as pointed out that co-operation between Latvian and Slovenian law enforcement agencies continues to have good development prospects and great growth potential.
The visit was carried out in accordance with the country's epidemiological safety requirements. Prepared:
Ministry of the Interior
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