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Ministerial Conference on the Challenges of the Eu External Border Management – Announcement

Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior and President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, will host a conference on the future management of the EU external borders, which will be held at Brdo pri Kranju on 12 March 2008 and attended by interior ministers of the EU, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The conference will be based on three Communications issued by the European Commission in mid-February 2008:

  • Communication on the evaluation and future development of the FRONTEX Agency, prepared by the Commission in accordance with the Hague Programme (2004) as adopted by the European Council, which requested the Commission to submit an evaluation of the operation of the agency consisting of a review of its work to date and an assessment of potential extension of its mandate to other areas. The Communication launches a discussion on the future role of the agency. The evaluation identifies short, medium and long term measures to strengthen its role. Slovenia will strive to close the discussion during its Presidency, with a view to enabling efficient and timely preparation of improvements that might be made in the future as regards the operation of the agency by adopting short and medium term objectives for the agency’s future activities.
  • Communication on preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union, which presents new ideas and technological possibilities providing enhanced border control and reliable identification of persons as well as greater and quicker flow of passengers at the borders. The Communication presents new ideas regarding the facilitation of border crossing for “bona fide” travellers, an automated entry/exit system and an Electronic System of Travel Authorisation (ESTA). We wish to find out how those systems could help improve the effectiveness of border control, resulting in enhanced security of the Schengen area, while at the same time respecting the fundamental rights of passengers and protecting personal data. Slovenia will study the preparedness of the Member States to develop such systems.
  • Communication on the establishment of the European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR), which comprises recommendations for short and medium term objectives regarding border control technologies that are supported by scientific research.  The Communication envisages three phases that by 2013 should lead to the setting up of an integrated border management system that would efficiently contribute to the fight against illegal immigration and organised crime.

The aim of the conference is to launch a political debate on how to improve EU external border management with a view to preventing undesired access to the EU by applying new technologies, while at the same time ensuring openness and accessibility of the area that will enable the exchange of values and promotion of economic growth. Slovenia’s aim is for the Council to adopt, based on the discussion of the Members States attending the conference, conclusions providing political guidelines for future work in this area.

* The Conference is part-financed by the External Borders Fund.


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Date: 07.03.2008