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A year ago, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia decided to set up common goals to be realized during the 18-month joint presidency. The main reason for this was the desire for more effective and continuous work in the EU Council. The last semester of this trio is getting underway, and Slovenia will endeavour to complete this joint programme and thus contribute to the further successful functioning of the EU Council.


Enlargement of the area of free movement of people

After carrying out the successful elimination of control at land and sea borders on 21 December 2007, border checks in airports will also be eliminated in March 2008. In this manner, the project of the Schengen area enlargement to the Member States that joined the European Union in 2004 (other than Cyprus) will be completed.

After ratifying the accession agreement, we will inter alia begin to evaluate Switzerland in the field of personal data protection, police cooperation, air borders and visa policy during the Slovenian Presidency. However, a decision on the method and programme of Schengen evaluation of Romania and Bulgaria should also be adopted.

On the top of the agenda of the Slovenian Presidency, there will be a discussion about the future of the integrated management of the EU external border. Therefore, at the ministerial level there will be intense discussion about looking for new technologies in the area of border protection which will, at the same time, facilitate a better flow of passengers at the border and create a safer EU (more effective border controls) also in the context of fighting terrorism. Increased activities in seeking out new technologies must be equally focused on the area of border protection and on those used at border crossings. 

Special attention will be paid to the evaluation of the External Borders Agency (FRONTEX) and its future operation.

The technical solution prepared by Portugal concerning access to the Schengen information system has resulted in the enlargement of the Schengen area. In spite of that, the EU's priority will be setting up the second generation of the Schengen information system (SIS II). The new information system will provide higher standards and the use of the latest technology for the purposes of rapid and effective control of passengers when entering the European Union. Furthermore, rapid and easy access to data for competent law enforcement bodies in the Member States will facilitate the effective prevention and investigation of all forms of crime, in particular of organized crime and terrorism. Slovenia will therefore promote development of the system in accordance with the agreed timetable.


Formulation of common migration policy

Slovenia is striving for a comprehensive and balanced approach to managing migration flows and framing common immigration policy. Uniform conditions for entry and residence at the level of the European Union and the coordination of national migration policies will enable more effective handling of legal immigrants and rapid response to the needs of our labour force markets, while at the same time providing immigrants into the European Union with the minimum scope of rights comparable to those enjoyed by EU citizens. Priority will be given to the proposal for a directive on the conditions for entry and residence of highly skilled workers in the European Union.

We would like to improve communication on the new job opportunities which can be offered to potential immigrants by the Member States, since this may be beneficial both to Europe and to immigrants. By stimulating circular migration, we may foster the accelerated development of the countries from which the immigrants come to the European Union. On the basis of the Council decisions of December 2007 on a global approach to migration, Slovenia will support development of the concept of mobile partners by carrying out pilot projects. 

The immigrants who reside among us legally add wealth to our society and our working environment, and for this reason adequate opportunities must be provided for their integration. Slovenia considers integration as a dynamic and two-way process which, among other things, provides mutual recognition and pays respect to EU fundamental values and human rights.

An integrated and balanced migration policy must also include the prevention of illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants are often a target of criminal organizations, which smuggle them at high prices onto the territory of the European Union and exploit them as a cheap work force.

Slovenia will focus its activities on the adoption of legal bases which will limit such situations. The adoption of a directive on common standards and procedures in the Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals is of significant importance for fast, effective, voluntary or forced return at the EU level, taking into account the fundamental human rights of illegal immigrants. Additionally, the European Union needs effective mechanisms for the prevention of illegal work by illegal immigrants, representing one of the more important pull factors. Consequently, we will strive to arrive at an agreement on a directive providing sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals. 

Within the framework of the global approach to migration, we will make efforts to deepen dialogue and to establish and improve practical cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination, since our experience has shown that such an approach to migration is the only effective method for its regulation. Slovenia will closely cooperate with France and Spain in organizing the second ministerial conference on migration (a continuation of the conference in Rabat in 2006), which will be held in October 2008 in Paris. Emphasis will be placed on the continued implementation of Council decisions on a wider global approach to migration in the eastern and south-eastern region, including, inter alia, strengthening cooperation with the countries of the Western Balkans and implementing arrangements made at the ministerial conference on illegal migration and prevention of organized crime in October 2007 in Brdo. 


Asylum policy

The European Union is halfway to establishing the common European asylum system planned for 2010. Based on the outcomes of the discussion about the Green Paper held during the Portuguese Presidency, Slovenia will organize the exchange of views at the political level on certain possible steps to be taken for the establishment of an effective common European asylum system. It will, in particular, endeavour to strengthen practical cooperation between the competent Member State authorities and to begin a political discussion about the possibilities of setting up a European support office. 


Intensifying policy cooperation

One of the key priorities of the common presidency programme in the area of police cooperation is to strengthen the role played by the European Police Office, i.e. Europol. It is intended for the purposes of improving the effectiveness and cooperation among competent Member State authorities in preventing serious forms of international organized crime and terrorism and in fighting against them. The legal basis for the operation of this European Police Office will be provided by the Europol Convention, which entered into force in 1998. After almost nine years of Europol operation, in view of the new types of threat (terrorism, new forms of organized crime), a new basis is to be provided, which will enable an effective response to the new security situation in the EU and its surroundings. The proposal for the Council Decision on the establishment of Europol contains certain solutions, in accordance with which the future European agency will provide more support to the law enforcement authorities of Member States when preventing and detecting serious forms of crime. Therefore, Slovenia will endeavour to achieve a political consensus on the proposal for the Council Decision.

The other area enabling the successful prevention of serious forms of crime and terrorism would be exchanging data of law enforcement authorities between the Member States. The transposition of a part of the Treaty governing the exchange of data from the national databases of DNA, fingerprints and vehicle registration into the acquis is one of the priorities of the Trio Presidency. Slovenia intends to discuss the technical enclosures concerning the data exchange and thus to facilitate the adoption of the Council Decision on implementing the Decision on strengthening cross-border cooperation, particularly in the area of the fight against terrorism and cross-border crime. In this way, the transposition of provisions of the Treaty into the acquis which was already commenced by the German Presidency will be completed. This future European legislation represents the first phase of implementing the principle of equal access, which is one of the fundamental elements of the Hague programme in the field of police cooperation.

Parallel to the discussion about the principle of availability and interoperability of European databases in the area of police cooperation (SIS, VIS, Eurodac), Slovenia will endeavour to respect the protection of personal data held in these information systems. The fight against crime and terrorism may not infringe on the rights of individuals to the protection of their privacy.


Fight against terrorism

After the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London and attempted terrorist attacks in the past months, the fight against terrorism remains one of the key priorities of the EU and thus also of the Slovenian Presidency. Slovenia will continue the work already begun during the Portuguese Presidency and will adopt and begin to implement an action plan on the control of explosives. The prevention of radicalization and recruitment for terrorism is still a key strategic element of the fight against terrorism; therefore, this phenomenon will be under discussion and certain new forms will be addressed. Since 2004, the EU has taken certain measures to prevent terrorist financing, which have already been implemented by the Member States. During the Slovenian Presidency, a discussion about implementation of the measures already taken will be led, and an exchange of views on eventual further steps or upgrading the terrorist financing strategy adopted in 2005 will be held. For the purposes of an effective fight against terrorism, not only good cooperation among the Member States and competent EU agencies and authorities, but also among strategic partners in the fight against terrorism and other third countries is of significant importance. During its Presidency, Slovenia will take an initiative, according to which some good practices will be presented to the countries of the Western Balkans in the field of the fight against terrorism, which have been identified after evaluating the terrorism-fighting mechanisms in the Member States. 


Foreign Relations

The internal and external security dimensions are closely connected. It is therefore necessary to strengthen cooperation with third countries, in particular with countries in the close vicinity, since the stability and security of our closest neighbours has an impact on the security of EU citizens. 

Furthermore, during its presidency, Slovenia will pay most attention to cooperation with the Western Balkan countries. With regard to the Thessaloniki agenda, these are countries with a European perspective. For this reason, Slovenia will endeavour to transfer the "European security standards" to the region of the Western Balkans. A proposal for the preparation of a South Eastern European Organised Crime Threat Assessment will be put forward to the Member States. The purpose of this project is mainly to enhance the cooperation between the police of the Western Balkans in the area of exchange and analysis of relevant information about organized crime. The governments of the countries of the Western Balkans have expressed their willingness to cooperate; Europol and the SECI Centre in Bucharest will join the project. Certain proposals and recommendations from the action-oriented document on the fight against organized crime, illegal migration and terrorism in the region of the Western Balkans adopted during the Austrian Presidency will actually be implemented via the SEE OCTA project.

Slovenia will further carry out cooperation with strategic partners – the United States, Russia and Ukraine – with which a meeting will be held at the ministerial level. Moreover, Slovenia will carry out the External Relations Strategy in the field of justice and internal affairs with other third countries.


Civil Protection - Presidency Programme (Slovenia)

After adoption of the Council Decision establishing a Community Civil Protection Mechanism (recast) and the Council Decision establishing a Civil Protection Financial Instrument the Slovenian Presidency will continue the work set up by the 18-month Programme of the German, Portuguese and Slovenian Presidencies while taking into account the actual situation in the EU. The Slovenian Presidency will address further key challenges for the European civil protection, a relation humanitarian aid – civil protection, and within that the role of civil protection in a humanitarian response. The Presidency and the Commission will co-organize an expert seminar on cooperation with third countries with particular emphasis on the Western Balkans.


Link to the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief:


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Date: 03.01.2008