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Minister Mate on Security as a Common Good and on Visa Liberalisation with Montenegro

Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior and President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, attended the fifth annual ministerial conference on cooperation on border security in the Western Balkans, held in Budva, Montenegro and organised by the Ministry of the Interior and Public Administration of Montenegro and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).

Minister Mate addressed the participants on behalf of the Slovenian EU Presidency and emphasised: “Security is not a value that can be limited to a territory of an individual country. The security situation in any given country has implications for security in the region, on the continent and even on a global scale. In order to prevent the European Union and the Schengen area from being seen as a fortress, Slovenia has made increased security and freedom in the Western Balkans one of its priorities.”

The fifth annual ministerial conference under the auspices of the Geneva DCAF is devoted to the evaluation of progress achieved and activities carried out in 2007 as part of the DFAC Border Security Programme 2008–2011. DCAF programmes focus on a broad spectrum of public security issues. The DFAC Border Security Programme, which is one of its active programmes, began to be implemented in November 2001. Its objectives include enhancing security and cooperating in efficient border control in the Western Balkan region. Minister Mate stated that, despite the fact that each country exercises its functions on its own side of the border, “we are all on the same side of the border when it comes to combating all forms of crime, terrorism and other security risks. This increased awareness is reflected in specific activities and reinforced police and border police cooperation regardless of the origin of police forces.”

The countries in the region have already concluded a number of agreements on cross-border police cooperation. In this context Minister Mate underlined that “the switch from bilateral cross-border cooperation to regional cross-border cooperation is of great significance. The signing of the modern and comprehensive Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe means genuine progress, not only benefiting the populations of the contracting parties but with much wider favourable effects. The fact that some countries in the region have already ratified the Convention is a strong message that the region is willing and able to raise the level of security while ensuring fundamental human rights and brings to the region the latest standards applicable in the EU Member States.”  The Geneva DCAF, in cooperation with Austria and Slovenia, actively supports activities aimed at setting up capacities and implementing the Police Cooperation Convention for Southeast Europe, which was signed on 5 May 2006 in Vienna. Further, at the conference Minister Mate signed a Cooperation and Partnership Agreement between the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Slovenia and Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.

As part of his visit, Minister Mate also joined Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, who today in Podgorica announced the beginning of dialogue on visa liberalisation with Montenegro. Slovenia supports dialogue with the Western Balkan countries, as this will contribute to their timely drawing closer to the European Union.


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Date: 21.02.2008