Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window




Speech by Zvonko Zinrajh, State Secretary at the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior, at the European Organisation for Security

Check against delivery


Dear Ministers, dear guests

It is a great pleasure to participate at this important conference in the function of the Slovene Presidency in the area of Home Affairs. The relations between private and public stakeholders in security are always important. In our area, however, they have become part of reality, and even more so in the last decade. It is also important that producers and companies cooperating in security have the possibility to meet and discuss new challenges, while the goal of their cooperation is to lead to more interoperability of our technologies and equipment, and thus benefit us all.

Let me present my views of where we are today in the area of European cooperation in the security sector. With the increase of threats that the modern world has brought, especially terrorism and international crime, the cooperation level among Member States has increased as well. Our citizens are more and more aware that their personal security is no longer dependent only on the minister of the interior and the national police, but that we are facing phenomena that can only be fought by all Member States acting together.

The European Union has brought us the freedom of movement inside the common space, which is beneficial for the relations among our countries and peoples, for our economy and development, but on the other hand gives the possibility to criminal organisations to spread their activities beyond national boundaries.

In the framework of the Hague Programme that we have been implementing since 2005, the activities of the European Union have concentrated around four main axes: active migration and asylum policy, protection of the external border, enhanced police cooperation and external relations.

In the area of migration, we are still in the construction phase towards a true European migration policy.

We are working in two directions: to fight against illegal migration and to develop legal migration. We could say that migration actually became part of our agenda some five years ago - mostly to cooperate in the fight against illegal migration, triggered by the dramatic situations at the Mediterranean Sea.

In reality, we have been witnessing a paradoxal state. It is a fact that our economies will need new workers in 20 years from now, and we are already aware that the demographic growth of Europe will not satisfy the future demands. However, it could be concluded that such a situation, predicted for the future, has already become a reality, since the migrants we see everyday on the streets are quite few compared to those who work behind the walls of companies all over Europe.

There is demand for these workers already today, but unfortunately, since they enter the EU illegally, they do not benefit from any social protection nor any minimal guarantees  such as normal, legal workers. This often leads to a situation we call "modern slavery".

We are discussing in the Council a directive sanctioning employers who employ illegal migrants on the black market, but in conjunction with a directive that will harmonise the status of migrant workers in the EU. This will lower the pull factor for illegal migration and open possibilities for legal employment of migrants.

Moreover, with the directive on the so-called blue card, highly-skilled migrants will have the possibility to enter the EU legally and take a job in the EU with the possibility to change the country if so dictated by labour market requirements. The second directive on legal migration will harmonise the status and rights of legal migrants in the EU. It is fair that if we invite migrant workers to come to the EU, that they are offered the same rights and possibilities in the entire EU.

However, the whole process is developing slowly. The Commission proposed the two directives only last October, and our presidency managed to conclude a first discussion among experts on the whole texts. It will be up to consequent Presidencies to find political support for their adoption.

The political vision that the Commission presented for the next decade also foresees the possibility that the needs for migrant workers would be coordinated in Brussels for all Member States. Then we could negotiate with each third country the quotas and conditions of workers' entry into the EU. This is not entirely new, it has been done in the sixties and seventies, with the difference that at that time, these were national decisions and policies, while this time it would be a coordinated European migration Policy.

Of course several elements connected to this idea have to be defined. I personally think that we would put in place a system that would give these workers the possibility to go back after a certain period of work with a minimum pension that in the EU is hardly enough to live on, but in the developing countries, this would be enough to ensure the economic stability of a whole family. Furthermore, after returning to their country of origin, these workers could set up small businesses and help develop their economy.

A first step in this direction will be done next month with the signature of Mobility Partnership agreements with Moldova and Cape Verts. These are Pilot projects and offer a learning opportunity on how to proceed this way in the future.

The second axis is the Schengen area and consequently the protection of the common external border. Let me stop for a moment on the last enlargement of the Schengen area that took place this past December. This moment ended the last division of European countries. Slovenia evaluates this enlargement to be very positive. Black scenarios that were announced by some sceptics were not realised and we can say today that Schengen has already become part of our everyday life.

Since 1 of September, when we connected to the Schengen Information System, the Slovenian police has checked 10 million passengers. This data tells you also the amount of passengers crossing the Slovenian border with Croatia. To 3400 persons we rejected the possibility of EU entry, we arrested 85 persons under the European arrest warrant, we found 33 adult missing persons, 10 children and 420 stolen vehicles.

This process will continue. Switzerland is preparing to enter the Schengen area by the end of this year, Liechtenstein will follow soon and Romania and Bulgaria are preparing to enter possibly in 2012, provided that all conditions are met.

Slovenia organised a ministerial conference on the Future management of the external border on 12 March. We discussed the three Communications by the Commission on the future of the Agency for External Borders (Frontex), the Communication on the use of modern technologies in the control of the sea and land border and finally on the future system of registration of entry and exit of third country nationals to the EU.

Slovenia supports this futuristic vision and indeed these technologies will have to be developed by your companies. Our challenge is how to protect the green line of our border by increasing the efficiency and the speed of passenger control. This is indeed connected to the next generation of the Schengen Information System that will add new functionalities to the system we use today, like the use of personal photos and fingerprints. On this issue, Slovenia also invests great effort for the SIS II to become operational by September 2009.

The third axis of our cooperation is police cooperation. Before this decade, a close bilateral cooperation was enough to maintain control over cross-border crime. Organised crime activities were mostly limited to specific regions. In the 21st century, however, the development of telecommunications and transport, the opening of financial and economic markets, enables terrorists and criminals to act all over the European Union as well as beyond. Bilateral cooperation is not enough and we have to find a European answer to these problems.

I think that the crucial moment for the switch from regional to European cooperation is happening right now. A few weeks ago, the Council adopted the text of the new Decision establishing the Europol, giving the agency more flexibility in the fight against modern crime and terrorism.

A second element is the transfer of the Prüm Convention into the European legislation. We plan to adopt these acts next month. We will then have the possibility to exchange data from our national databases on DNA profiles, fingerprints and registration plates. Both acts represent the basis for the police cooperation in the European Union in the next decade.

We are just analysing the situation in the field. This modern legislation gives us the possibility for common cross-border activities among police forces, but often these activities reveal that the use of different equipment and different communication devices prevent our policemen to be even more efficient. I think that the French Presidency will start a discussion on how to unify standards or at least make our national systems interoperable.

Finally, we have developed good cooperation with our neighbours and overseas partners, in particular the Western Balkans countries, Russia, Ukraine and the United States of America. Lately our partners from the USA have made clear that they would like to develop further the exchange of information on suspected terrorists and criminals, possibly with the sharing of DNA profiles and fingerprints. These are new areas of our future work.

Indeed with the exchange of information among Member States and with our partners we have to develop the technologies to protect these data and block unauthorised access to them.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I decided to come here and present you my views since I am convinced that in the future, the efficiency of our policies in fighting organised crime and terrorism will increasingly rely upon the use of modern equipment and technology developed by the private sector. I have mentioned today areas of border control with the use of satellites, night cameras, helicopters, unmanned aircrafts, police cooperation with communication systems, special equipment, and the development of new information systems with the use of biometric data.

These are the areas where we will work together in the years to come.

Thank you for your attention.


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 14.05.2008